I recently read “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie, and I totally recommend it to anyone who has to deal with people for a living. (so just about everyone)
The short version of the book is: Be polite and empathetic towards everyone you meet, and show a genuine interest in them. Avoid arguments and be very sensitive and understanding when trying to change someone’s mind. Admit it when you’re wrong. Remember that people are emotional creatures, and that they’re motivated by their own pride and desires more than anything else. Make people feel appreciated and important.
Although the book is mainly set in the context of business transactions, I think it’s quite useful in just about any type of relationship, and I’ve been figuring out a lot of the lessons on my own over the years while dealing with people online.
Here’s some of my favorite quotes from the book:
“Remember that the people you are talking to are a hundred times more interested in their wants and problems than they are in yours.”
“Don’t criticize people; for they are just what you would be under similar circumstances.”
“Remember that we are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures of emotion, bristling with prejudices and motivated by pride.”
“Be hearty in your appreciation and lavish in your praise, and people will cherish your words even long after you have forgotten them.”
“Nobody needs a smile so much as those who have none left to give.”
“Abilities wither under criticism; they blossom under encouragement.”
“It takes character and self control to be understanding and forgiving. A great man shows his greatness by how he treats little men.”