Tuesday, July 20, 2010

DC4W: Become Genuinely Interested in Other People

Technique Tuesday

Continuing our on-going series on Dale Carnegie for Writers (DC4W), the first principle in the Six Ways to Make People Like You, the second section of How to Win Friends and Influence People, is, "Become genuinely interested in other people."

One of the aphorisms my mother shared (repeatedly) with me was, "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care."

Even though writing is mostly a solitary pursuit there are thousands of ways to become genuinely interested in other people.

Here are a few examples to get you started.

Fellow writers - get involved in local writing groups; listen to what other writers have to say; offer to read and comment on their manuscripts.

Authors - get to know the authors in your area and your genre; read their books; go to conferences and signings and meet them.

Professionals - get to know some publishing professionals. Blogs by agents, editors, and publishers are a great way to get at least some sense of who these people are, what they're interested in, and what concerns they have.

Like-minded People - Blogging: It's not about self promotion; find like-minded people on the Internet and listen to what they have to say; make helpful, constructive comments on their blogs; always invite people to participate in the blogs and forums you host.

Readers - every writer who hopes to get paid for their work should, at a minimum, be genuinely interested in their readers. You should spend a major portion of your outreach efforts trying to find out who they are and what they like.

And if you're not convinced that becoming genuinely interested in other people is the right thing to do in principle, consider this: all human groups have signs they use to distinguish members from non-members. While the specifics differ from group to group, knowing the names of key members is a nearly universal way to show that you're part of the group.

Image: luigi diamanti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net