How to Win Friends and Influence People (Your Audience)

public speaking training

People ask me all the time about the books I read to keep building my public speaking knowledge.

I read at least one book per month on a subject related to public speaking. I do it because I enjoy it and because I like to continuously sharpen my skills and knowledge. I do it because I love to share and teach public speaking to others.

Today, I want to give you some tips I learned from the book How to Win Friends and Influence People  By Dale Carnegie, 1936.

Most of the tips come from the second chapter, “Six ways to make people like you.” Which are very important skills for any presenter.

I know – the book is old, but the teachings are timeless. They need a little updating for the modern presenter, which I will do below.

Six ways to make people (your audience) like you:

1. Care about your audience and your topic

If you don’t care about your audience or the topic it will be obvious to everyone. It will show in your tone of voice, in your attitude, and in your facial expressions.

If you want your audience to care about you and about your topic, then you have to initiate first.

2. Smile and have open body language.

This is easy to do if you care about your audience and topic.

However, some people genuinely don’t know how to smile. I see this sometimes with my coaching clients. The solution is to practice smiling with your whole face including the eyes, on a daily basis. Don’t just practice smiling with your mouth; the whole face has to smile.

The open body language implies transparency and confidence. If you have a habit of crossing your arms or holding your hands in a praying mantis position, notice it, and open up. Over time opening up will become a new habit.

3. Remember their names (give them name tags so that you can call them by name)

Try to remember people’s names and include them in your presentation. If there are many people in your audience, give them name tags and call them by name instead of “You sir, over there.”

People love to hear their own names, and when you use their names they will like you instantly.

4. Give your audience some room to talk about themselves and their experience (when and if possible)

Not only do people like to hear their own names, but they also like to hear themselves talk. This is the human condition, and we all do it.

If possible, give a space for people to share their thoughts with you or with each other. A quick break, a quick Q&A session, or a quick partner chat session is a great idea if you can work it into your presentation.

5. Frame your presentation in terms of your audiences’ interests

In marketing, there is a term called “Customer-Centric Marketing.” Where the customer is the center of all the messaging. The same principle applies to speaking: your audience is the center of everything.

The more invisible you are during the presentation the more they will like you.

6. Treat everyone in your audience like a million bucks

I love this principle. Before I read it in the book, I learned it from a very successful (top 1% earner in his field) sales executive in the financial industry.

One time he told me that he lives and dies by two principles.

1. Continuous personal development
2. Treating every one he meets like a million bucks (even if it’s a homeless person that has nothing to invest with him)

There is so much value in the second one that I can write a whole book on it.

I work very hard not to judge my audience. I work very hard to treat them all with love, care, and respect.

I say I work hard because I am a human being and sometimes I do judge. I admit it.

Hope you found these tips from Carnegie’s Book “ How to Win Friends and Influence People” useful.

There will be more from the book soon, make sure you subscribe to this blog to get more.

Peter Khoury

Peter Khoury: Founder @ MagneticSpeaking X-Pharmaceutical Engineer, turned author, national speaker and executive presentation coach.

In addition to Public Speaking training, Peter is a regular speaker on the topics of Negotiations, Conflict Management and Leadership. He is the author of the book “Self-Leadership Guide.