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20 Ways to Win Friends and Influence People at Work

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If you want to really win friends and influence people at work:

  1. Be on time and prepared for meetings. That alone will make you shine like a star.
  2. Turn in work ahead of schedule. Forget procrastination, get things done early
  3. Turn in work error-free. I need to practice this one, if you haven't noticed that my columns invariably have some typos or grammatical errors.
  4. Return email and voicemails the same business day (if only to acknowledge receipt of it with a message telling them when you'll get back to them). Realize that even though many people procrastinate sending you a message, human nature is that they will often expect you to respond immediately.
  5. Follow up with people, even if you have to do it more than once. Don't just stop and think, "Well I called them back so I'm off the hook." If they don't get back to you, it's not personal. Everyone is overloaded.
  6. Never bring up a problem without coming up with a solution. And make it one that will make sense, feel right and be doable in your company's corporate culture to your boss.
  7. Never lie. People will forgive an honest mistake, but they won't forgive or forget if you lie.
  8. Sincerely congratulate others on their success. It is one of the best ways to counteract jealousy and envy.
  9. Express compassion. Tell people you're sorry when bad things happen to them. This is not to be confused with the empty, "I'm sorry," excuse that you say after you mess up to try to get out of some punishment.
  10. Smile more than you frown. Many people have spoken of the potential hidden benefits of smiling, including longer lifespan and more happiness. One study showed that one smile can generate the same level of brain stimulation as 2,000 bars of chocolate!
  11. Be easier to please than you are to upset. Don't be high-maintenance.
  12. Do what you say you'll do, when you say you'll do it. Follow through means never having to say you're sorry.
  13. If you have a w-h-i-n-i-n-g voice (ask your friends), stop it. Nails on a chalkboard do not win friends or influence anyone.
  14. If you have a strident voice (ask your friends), stop it. More chalk.


  15. If you pout, stop it.
  16. If you act sullen, stop it.
  17. If you blame others, stop it.
  18. If you make other people wrong, stop it.
  19. If you make excuses, stop it.
  20. If you cry too easily, stop it.

For more by Mark Goulston, M.D., click here.

For more on emotional intelligence, click here.

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