“How to win friends” by Dale Carnegie and “Discourse” by Deborah Tannen” Discussed

Dale Carnegie “How to win friends”.

In this essay I would like to discuss the two books “How to win friends” by Dale Carnegie and “Discourse” by Deborah Tannen. In addition, I would like to look at the two theories analyzed in the books and see how the various types of communication are described in them.

Several years ago, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Carnegie Institute of Technology conducted investigations that found about fifteen percent of the financial prosperity comes from the technical knowledge; thus eighty-five percent comes from one’s personality and capability to be a good leader. Most of colleges and universities nowadays do a good job giving technical skills and knowledge to a student but very few of them are able to provide a good “people skills”. For this reason most organizations keep making their junior executives to take Dale Carnegie course in effective and human relations, and the main textbooks for this course is “How to win friends and influence people”.

This book is not only a theory but also case studies of the students that took Dale Carnegie’s course, who actually applied his concepts to the real life and found out what actually works, and what does not. The golden rule of the book is seemingly simple, do to other what you would like them do to you, this involves taking interest in people and show sympathy. One has to understand people’s motives and interest, giving them encouragement and praise. Carnegie says that the biggest human need is to feel important.

Since Dale was a professor of communication skills, his book “How to win friends and influence people” is an art of communication and is surely worth studying. In each chapter of his book, Carnegie engages us with questions and interesting stories. He states the main idea of the chapter, and then he gives us historical examples of the leaders, such as Abraham Lincoln, Charles Schwab and Theodore Roosevelt and some his students. The more recent editions of the book also include examples that are more contemporary. Finally, there is a one sentence “executive summary” at the end of each chapter and an “In A Nutshell” list of principles at the end of each section of the book.

Discourse analysis is sometimes defined as the analysis of language ‘beyond the sentence’. This contrasts with types of analysis more typical of modern linguistics, which are chiefly concerned with the study of grammar: the study of smaller bits of language, such as sounds (phonetics and phonology), parts of words (morphology), meaning (semantics), and the order of words in sentences (syntax). Discourse analysts study larger chunks of language as they flow together.

Some discourse analysts consider the larger discourse context in order to understand how it affects the meaning of the sentence. For example, Charles Fillmore points out that two sentences taken together as a single discourse can have meanings different from each one taken separately. To illustrate, he asks you to imagine two independent signs at a swimming pool: “Please use the toilet, not the pool,” says one. The other announces, “Pool for members only.” If you regard each sign independently, they seem quite reasonable. But taking them together as a single discourse makes you go back and revise your interpretation of the first sentence after you’ve read the second.

According to Tannen Conversation is an enterprise in which one person speaks, and another listens. Discourse analysts who study conversation note that speakers have systems for determining when one person’s turn is over and the next person’s turn begins. This exchange of turns or ‘floors’ is signaled by such linguistic means as intonation, pausing, and phrasing. Some people await a clear pause before beginning to speak, but others assume that ‘winding down’ is an invitation to someone else to take the floor. When speakers have different assumptions about how turn exchanges are signaled, they may inadvertently interrupt or feel interrupted. On the other hand, speakers also frequently take the floor even though they know the other speaker has not invited them to do so.

You see that the above describe theories are quite similar and still have some different approaches. Those can be personalized and used according with the situation, so keep up with the environment use the knowledge for better results.


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