When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion. – Dale Carnegie
What does that mean?
We, even the most logical of us, are creatures of emotion. Yes we have our logical moments, but under all that calm logic lurks the chaos of emotion. It might hurt sometimes to admit it, but it is true. Dale is warning us against being too logical, and imploring us to remember that however logical our reasoning may be, it will most likely be taken, by the listener, in an emotional manner.
Why is emotion important?
Emotion, or the feelings called emotions, are an integral part of who we are as human beings. While it might be nice to hold logical discussions from time to time, when the thin veneer of civilization is stripped away, emotion is what you see, seething beneath.
Most people, when given ample time, will approach a problem in a fairly logical way. However, when you get to the heart of it, the true measure of a plan or presentation is the way it is received. It will be received by most people on an emotional level.
If you want to win friends and influence people, you will have to appeal to their emotions. Logic will win their minds, but if you want their hearts and their money, you have to use emotion. Just look at the commercials on TV. Even the banks are trying to sell you on emotion, not on their just on their interest rates or other logical, number based points.
Where can I apply this in my life?
Dale is talking, as most of his work does, about sales and making friends (where the product you are selling is yourself). How far will you get trying to talk someone into being your friend because it is the logical thing to do? It might convince Spock (or his many devotees), but it’s going to get you strange looks from most people.
I’ve done this backwards so many times it is no longer even slightly funny. I tried logic and reasoning with my kids from as early an age as they could understand words. Trying to be reasonable with a two year old. You can imagine how well it went. Eventually, I started trying other approaches, with much better results. I still used logic (when they were calm enough to listen) to help them understand why, but the results were still less than stellar.
How do you interact with family members? Not just the occasional shouting match or cold shoulder, but the average interaction. When you want something, how much logic do you use, and how much is based on emotion?
Let me note that there are a wide range of emotions to which you can appeal. If you want a kid to clean their room, you can use fear (clean or die!), you can take an activity hostage (no more video games until…), you can bribe them (or appeal to their greed), or you can appeal to their better nature (do laundry, the house will smell better). You can also appeal to any number of other emotions, and probably will have to, as the years go by.
Let me also note that there are ethical and unethical ways of using emotions. I personally consider guilt to be an unethical emotion for the purpose of motivation. Not that it doesn’t have a place in life, but I personally prefer the more positive methods.
How are you going to change your emotional patterns? Life tends to reward patterns, and we often become trapped by those patterns. Examine your interactions with your family and close friends. Write down some names, and which emotions you usually use when you interact with them, most notably when you want them to do something.
Take a moment and look at each person on your list. Close your eyes and see that person. Try to imagine what other emotions you might use to influence them. That sounded kind of cold, almost conspiratorial, but if you try this exercise from a warm heart and pure intentions, I believe the outcome will be good.
Did you notice a pattern across your list of people? Do you have a go-to emotion for all of them, or even groups of them? How well does that emotion work on you, and how well does it work on your friends? How much variety is there across the whole list? These are some questions that you might want to think about.
Write down a new emotion (or two) to go with each person. Think about who on the list you will interact with next, perhaps two or three people. Take a moment and think, is there anything you wanted to talk to them about that would involve you attempting to influence them? See if you can work the new emotion into the conversation.
It might seem a little stilted and awkward at first, but with a little practice, you can broaden your horizons. Even the prettiest baby blue eyes can only be flashed so many times before they lose their effectiveness and become monotonous.
While it never hurts to have some logical points in your attempt to influence, to focus only on logic is to flirt with failure. Emotion is what moves people, emotion is what creates results. Don’t forget, when you deal with people, you are dealing with emotions. Just be sure to do so in an ethical and appropriate manner, right?