Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People is a must-read for attorneys regardless of their practice area or experience level. This best-selling book has brought many people success in their business and personal lives for one very important reason: because the concepts Carnegie outlines really work.
As Carnegie began teaching public speaking classes, he realized that many adults not only needed training in effective speaking, but also in getting along with people. Although his emphasis is in business relationships, the concepts he shares are applicable in any situation where networking and collaboration is key—including the legal profession.
This book drives home the point that people are really interested in their own point of view, their wants, and their needs. Smart attorneys will speak to these issues and emotions when networking and during the pitch process. This book reminds lawyers that kindness and politeness, which is sometimes considered a weaker trait for lawyers, can also be a helpful tactic for building a reputation and client base.
For attorneys, I believe reading this book will help insert generosity and praise into their business development strategy. It also reminds marketing-savvy lawyers that the focus of their marketing text and conversations need to be focused on their clients, not on themselves. Being genuinely interested in others is a habit that will draw people towards you and your law practice. Smiling, remembering specific personal details about acquaintances and clients, and repeating people’s names to them are just as helpful as truly listening when someone is speaking to you.
I consider How to Win Friends and Influence People to be a great, fast read, and I highly recommend it.