Be more Dale Carnegie than Don Draper

I first heard this line in the Social Media Revolution 2 video by Socialnomics which is featured below. The exact line they use is ‘Successful companies in social media act more like Dale Carnegie and less like Mad Men. Listening first and selling second’.

I have used this video numerous times with clients and in seminars to give a quick hit about the power of social media. The stats are hard to ignore. It’s been widely used and I’d be surprised if you haven’t seen it but an old image I saw this morning on someone’s Facebook page got me thinking about the difference between online and offline personas.

Sort out your personal brand - fleming steele

Are you the same person online as offline?

I read How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie over ten years ago and it still influences my behaviour both offline and online, not just in a work environment. If you haven’t read the book I’d encourage you to do so poste haste. It’s remarkably relevant for online business and it was published in 1937!

Below is a synopsis of the key points that I have updated for online use:

  • Don’t criticise, condemn or complain
  • Give honest and sincere appreciation – as Charles Schwab said – ‘be hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise’. This doesn’t mean give false praise.
  • Smile when you type (originally this was smile on the phone but who uses phones these days?!)
  • A person’s name is the sweetest sound to that person.
  • Be a good listener – you can get great online listening tools to do it for you too
  • Talk in terms of other’s interests
  • Make the other person feel important – ‘Talk to people about themselves and they will listen for hours’
  • You can’t win an argument – any victory will be a hollow victory. You feel good, they feel bad
  • Use words that imply certainty – ‘I think’, ‘I imagine’
  • Remember what Socrates said “One thing only I know, and that is that I know nothing”
  • Get the other person saying yes
  • “He who treads softly goes far”

Who is Don Draper?

For those of you who haven’t seen or heard of it, Mad Men follows the lives of a the employees of Sterling Cooper – an advertising firm in Mid-Century New York. Frequently the plot delves into the messy machinations of advertising campaigns, as the employees of the firm try to figure out how to get into the heads (and wallets) of consumers byt whatever means possible. Don Draper is the protagonist and the creative Director of Sterling Cooper. It’s a great show and worth catching up on. But try not to learn from it.

Here’s the socialnomics video:


Jaime Steele

Jaime specialises in brand strategy, creative concepts, naming strategies, digital media marketing and technical project management. He has a strong background in delivering and managing social media and digital marketing campaigns for both small start-ups and blue chip companies.

He has also worked with many top professional athletes, advising on personal branding, sponsorship and social media.