How to Win Friends with Digital Analytics: Channel Dale Carnegie

Picture this. You’ve slaved over your data. You’ve found some really cool insights and opportunities. Checked it three times and you’re sure your analysis is correct. You present it with great enthusiasm to your colleagues Confused & frustratedand your boss. You get a very positive, thumbs up all around … and nothing happens.

Pretty frustrating, huh? Confused?

What happened? What might you do differently?  Well, let’s take a few hints from Dale Carnegie. His famous book “How to win friends and influence people”, first published in 1936, has sold over 30 million copies. With the release of the 3rd edition in 2011, it was ranked 19th on Time Magazine’s list of 100 most influential books in 2011 (read more in Wikipedia).

The ideas I stand for are not mine. I borrowed them from Socrates. I swiped them from Chesterfield. I stole them from Jesus. And I put them in a book. If you don’t like their rules, whose would you use?

A book worth reading for its many time-tested tips, here are four I’ve extracted that might help our frustrated analyst:

1.  Logic is easy.  Emotion less so.

When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion.

Logic and data are great, but in the end, we’re human and emotional. In that meeting where you got a thumbs up but nothing happened:

  • Were you perhaps a bit too enthusiastic and possibly overwhelming?
  • Did you project that you were willing to discuss your results?
  • Did you really get a thumbs up – thinking back, did everyone’s body language, facial expression give you a slightly different picture?

2.  Your presentation is more than your data and your words.

There are four ways, and only four ways, in which we have contact with the world. We are evaluated and classified by these four contacts: what we do, how we look, what we say, and how we say it.

Perhaps a bit too much emphasis on “what we say” and less about the other 3 aspects of contact? Take care about first impressions, body language and your choice of words. Think about how you’re feeling as that will be projected out and often reflected back to you.

3.  Understand what’s truly important.

The royal road to a man’s heart is to talk to him about the things he treasures most.

Did you talk too much about yourself and your data? Did you pause? Did you communicate that you were willing to listen? Were you interested in their opinions or did your enthusiasm cause you to ramble on without pause?

4.  Focus externally, not internally.

There is only one way… to get anybody to do anything. And that is by making the other person want to do it.” And “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.

Is it clear to YOU why THEY should buy into your idea?  Did you consider their point of view?

Next time, slow down and think “what’s in it for them?”

Just four of many tips from Dale Carnegie that I hope will get you thinking.

If you’ve read the book, do you have other favourite quotes you’ve found useful?

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Photo credit: brandijclark.com

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