the book how to win friends and influence people in the digital age.

Background:

In the first part of the book, there is focus placed on three key areas, that can be summed up by avoiding outward criticism/condemnation/complaining, affirming the good in others, and connecting to core desires. We identified some common themes resulting from our discussion on part one. With each of these themes, however, I would like you to pay attention to one overarching connection, and that is the connection of each of the themes to our core values and how our core values are violated as a result of these themes:

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1) The “good” is often not affirmed because it assumed

2) Sometimes people don’t want to be good to or help other people be successful, because it creates competition

3) Many people think their opinion should be valued, and as such, the opinion is deemed as “right,” creating a lot of confusion

4) Social media lets us be blunter with how we might speak, but also allows us to hide behind our words and our screens. It also creates a reactive environment, where people tend to react without having facts first

5) Criticism can be used as a tool to help people grow, but it is difficult to strike the right balance so as to not offend

6) “I” statements, and monologue-type behavior are generally off-putting, but we are all acutely aware (at least in this class) of our own personal usage and how that influences us on a day-to-day basis

Part 2 of HTWF highlights the six ways to make a lasting impression by doing the following:

  • Taking interest in others’ interests
  • Smile
  • Reign with names
  • Listen longer
  • Discuss what matters
  • Leave others a little better

Discussion Assignment:

There are six themes (above) that we extracted from our first discussion. Please address each theme in the context of the “six ways to make a first impression” presented in Part 2 of HTWF by answering the following questions. Some questions have multiple questions that should be addressed. Please feel free to exercise the same creativity and insight drawing from your own personal experiences in addition to the readings to construct your responses. 

1) If the good in people isn’t affirmed, but rather assumed, how might we improve communication by starting to affirm the good that people do? (use examples from Part 2 HTWF to support your position). 

2) Some people really don’t want to elevate others to a level of success because they feel that it is hurting their chances for success and creates competition. The sixth chapter, “Leave Things a Little Better,” addresses some of this. How would you approach applying this in your own life and how do you think leaving things a little better would improve the quality of life for everyone?

3) Using examples from Part 2, how would you make someone’s opinion feel valued even if you don’t agree with their stance? Short from wanting to punch someone in the face (violence is NEVER the answer!), how can you use those techniques to manage your own emotions when you feel you are dealing with someone who steadfastly believes their opinion is the only one that matters?

4) Criticism has become a “dirty word” in our general vocabulary (again, as a result of our changing norms of our society, that we must not offend, we must value, and we shouldn’t criticize because everyone is important). How might you use the suggestions in Part 2 to help you personally deal with criticism that is directed toward you? How might you anticipate the techniques improving how you might approach directing criticism at someone else?

5) What techniques can you use to ensure you are properly balanced between “I” statements (monologue communication), and achieving proper messaging to those you communicate with? Keep in mind, there’s nothing wrong with “I” statements, unless they clog the flow of the communication. 

6) In what ways are core values violated in the themes identified from Part 1’s discussion? How can the techniques presented in Part 2 bring us closer to our core values in the ways we choose to communicate? Why might this be difficult for a lot of people?

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