How to Win /friends and Influence /guildies

Today I’ll be starting what I hope will be a long-running series of articles that will take up the thursday posting slot and carry us at least until we start getting some hands-on information about guilds in Cataclysm.

As you may have guessed from the title, the series will look at the ideas of the book “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie and look at how they can be applied to guild management.

If you go back through my articles you’ll find that I sometimes suggest not trying to get inside the heads of your guildies.  Stick to the facts and skip the psychology.  I still believe that this approach is safe – you won’t get into any trouble by keeping things simple.  I have come to believe however that there are better ways to motivate and guide a group of disparate people towards a common goal.

Why do we play World of Warcraft?  Why do we choose to make raiding our focus instead of PvP?  Why do we join a guild instead of sticking with PUGs?  The answers to those questions aren’t specific to MMOs or gaming.  We do these things because they bring us some measure of satisfaction.  The specific personal goals that these activities fulfil differ from person to person, but it all boils down to “I want to”.

In the second chapter of the book, Dale Carnegie makes a simple statement.  When I read it, I knew that the rest of the book would be applicable to anyone in a guild leadership role:

There is only one way under high heaven to get anybody to do anything. Did you ever stop to think of that?  Yes, just one way.  And that is by making the other person want to do it.

Remember, there is no other way.

(1. Carnegie)

I’m sure every guild leader can identify with the frustration in the statement “if only these people would do what I want them to do, this boss would die!”.

I’m not suggesting that what you want your members to do is diametrically opposed to they want to do.  You’re a member too, and your members have been drawn together for the same general goal.  It’s in the specifics where things break down.  You want something done a particular way.  Certain members don’t agree.  In their minds, you’re now forcing them to do something they don’t want to do, and performance suffers (even if nobody is directly aware of why).

That’s just one paragraph of many that I think will resonate with many guild leaders throughout this series.  My hope is to give guild leaders some new ideas on how to motivate their members.

On Manipulation

As I read through the book, I was thinking about how each idea would apply to guild management.  As I did, I became worried that my articles would keep touching on the term “manipulation”.  When talking about how to influence people, it’s hard not to think that at some level you are manipulating them.  I don’t want people to think that I’m suggesting turning your members into mindless followers.  Part of the fun of being in a guild and raiding is seeing different people come together to achieve a common goal.

This series is designed to help you direct the energy and drive that your members have so that everyone’s pointing more or less in the same direction.  Rather than saying “do this because I’m the guild leader and you must pledge fealty to me”, you’re getting them to think that it was their own idea, or that it serves their purposes at least as much as it serves the guild’s.  Is that wrong?  It’s an interesting question, and one one which I invite comment.  If the guild achieves their goals and everyone thinks that they played a crucial part in doing so and that it was their idea to do so, is that a bad thing?

Getting A Copy For Yourself

If the subject interests you, I would highly recommend that you pick up a copy of the original book.  Here are a few links to various booksellers (none are affiliate links):

It’s a relatively cheap book (though amazingly it’s cheaper in the UK than in other parts of the world).  I picked it up almost by accident – someone had recommended it to me and I’d put it in my shopping cart at Amazon only to find that the shipping cost was more than the book.  I didn’t buy it that day, but the next time I went to buy something there it was still in my cart, and I purchased it without even realizing it (and got free shipping in the process).  Your local public library should also have a copy.

While my articles will be focused on how to use the ideas in a guild management setting, I’m sure you’ll find ideas that you can apply elsewhere in your life.  Of course, you may find that these ideas make perfect sense but applying them seems difficult.  That is what I hope to help with.

About The Book

Dale Carnegie was a lecturer first and an author second.  The original version of the book came from a publishing executive who attended Carnegie’s course.  You can think of the book as being less of a self-help book (at least the way we think of such titles today) and more of a textbook for a self-help course.

The book has been re-printed several times since it was written in 1936 (I’m using the 1998 version), but only some of the examples have been updated to be more relevant – the main points remain unchanged.  I think some of the chapter names may have been changed when the book was given an overhaul in the 80s – my copy differs from the listings given by Wikipedia.

One word of warning: the book was written in 1936, and even in the revised edition some of the examples are dated.  If you’re someone who dismisses things because they’re they seem superficially irrelevant, you might have some trouble with this book.  Of course, I think that anyone serious about guild leadership and willing to make the effort to get their hands on the book will be more focused.

The Series

The book is neatly divided into 30 chapters.  Due to the dearth of new information about guilds in Cataclysm, I’m going to start off the series with one chapter each thursday, leaving the monday post for more contemporary topics.  If the Cataclysm beta starts earlier rather than later and I find myself with more topical things to write about, then I might start covering two chapters per post.  The first article will be published this Thursday.

Here is the full chapter list, for those who would like some idea of the direction the series will take:

Fundamental Techniques in Handling People

  1. If You Want to Gather Honey, Don’t Kick Over the Beehive
  2. The Big Secret of Dealing with People
  3. He Who Can Do This Has the Whole World with Him.  He Who Cannot Walks a Lonely Way

Six Ways To Make People Like You

  1. Do This and You’ll Be Welcome Anywhere
  2. A Simple Way to Make a Good First Impression
  3. If You Don’t Do This, You Are Headed for Trouble
  4. An Easy Way to Become a Good Conversationalist
  5. How to Interest People
  6. How to Make People Like Instantly

How To Win People To Your Way of Thinking

  1. You Can’t Win an Argument
  2. A Sure Way of Making Enemies – and How to Avoid It
  3. If You’re Wrong, Admit It
  4. A Drop of Honey
  5. The Secret of Socrates
  6. The Safety Valve in Handling Complaints
  7. How to Get Cooperation
  8. A Formula That Will Work Wonders for You
  9. What Everybody Wants
  10. An Appeal That Everybody Likes
  11. The Movies Do It.  TV Does It.  Why Don’t You Do It?
  12. When Nothing Else Works, Try This

Be a Leader: How To Change People Without Giving Offence or Arrousing Resentment

  1. If You Must Find Fault, This Is the Way to Begin
  2. How to Criticise – and Not Be Hated for It
  3. Talk About Your Own Mistakes First
  4. No One Likes to Take Orders
  5. Let the Other Person Save Face
  6. How to Spur People On to Success
  7. Give a Dog a Good Name
  8. Make the Fault Seem Easy to Correct
  9. Making People Glad to Do What You Want

I’ll turn each chapter into a link as it is published.  If the latest link doesn’t work, you may be trying to view it after I’ve scheduled it but before it’s gone live – check back on Thursday and it should work.

Until Next Time

1 Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People.  (1936) pp.18