4-1 Begin with praise and honest appreciationIf you must find fault this is the way to begin. Chapter 4 from How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.
ReadA friend of mine was a guest at the White House for a weekend during the administration of Calvin Coolidge. Drifting into the President's private office, he heard Coolidge say to one of his secretaries, "That's a pretty dress you are wearing this morning, and you are a very attractive young woman." That was probably the most effusive praise Silent Cal had ever bestowed upon a secretary in his life. It was so unusual, so unexpected, that the secretary blushed in confusion. Then Coolidge said, "Now, don't get stuck up. I just said that to make you feel good. From now on, I wish you would be a little bit more careful with your Punctuation." His method was probably a bit obvious, but the psychology was superb. It is always easier to listen to unpleasant things after we have heard some praise of our good points. A barber lathers a man before he shaves him; and that is precisely what McKinley did back in 1896, when he was running for President. One of the prominent Republicans of that day had written a campaign speech that he felt was just a trifle better than Cicero and Patrick Henry and Daniel Webster all rolled into one. With great glee, this chap read his immortal speech aloud to McKinley. The speech had its fine points, but it just wouldn't do. It would have raised a tornado of criticism. McKinley didn't want to hurt the man's feelings. He must not kill the man's splendid enthusiasm, and yet he had to say "no." Note how adroitly he did it. "My friend, that is a splendid speech, a magnificent speech," McKinley said. "No one could have prepared a better one. There are many occasions on which it would be precisely the right thing to say, but is it quite suitable to this particular occasion? Sound and sober as it is from your standpoint, I must consider its effect from the party's standpoint. Now you go home and write a speech along the lines I indicate, and send me a copy of it." He did just that. McKinley blue-penciled and helped him rewrite his second speech, and he became one of the effective speakers of the campaign. Here is the second most famous letter that Abraham Lincoln ever wrote. (His most famous one was written to Mrs. Bixby, expressing his sorrow for the death of the five sons she had lost in battle.) Lincoln probably dashed this letter off in five minutes; yet it sold at public auction in 1926 for twelve thousand dollars, and that, by the way, was more money than Lincoln was able to save during half a century of hard work. The letter was written to General Joseph Hooker on April 26, 1863, during the darkest period of the Civil War. For eighteen months, Lincoln's generals had been leading the Union Army from one tragic defeat to another. Nothing but futile, stupid human butchery. The nation was appalled. Thousands of soldiers had deserted from the army, and en the Republican members of the Senate had revolted and wanted to force Lincoln out of the White House. "We are now on the brink of destruction," Lincoln said. It appears to me that even the Almighty is against us. I can hardly see a ray of hope." Such was the black sorrow and chaos out of which this letter came.
I am printing the letter here because it shows how Lincoln tried to change an obstreperous general when the very fate of the nation could have depended upon the general's action.
Chapter 4: 9 (nine) ways to Change people without giving offence or arousing resentment
Begin with praise and honest appreciation. If you must find fault this is the way to begin.
Call attention to people's mistakes indirectly. How to criticize and not be hated for it.
Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person. Talk about your own mistakes first.
Ask questions instead of giving direct orders. No one likes to take orders.
Let the other person save face. Let the other man save his face.
Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. How to spur men on to success.
Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to. Give the dog a good name.
Use encouragement; make the fault seem easy to correct. Make the fault seem easy to correct.
Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest. Making people glad to do what you want.