Daniel Pink writes in his new book To Sell Is Human that perspective-taking is at the heart of moving others today.  It’s having the ability to step outside our own experience to imagine the emotions, perceptions, and motivations of another.

It’s human nature to think about ourselves.
It’s human relations to think about others.


I wish I could give credit to the author of that quote.  I found it waiting in a doctor’s office and didn’t think much of it at the time.  Yet, like a catchy tune that you can’t get out of your head, I found myself rolling that quote over and over again in my mind.

It is human nature to think about ourselves.
In the 1940s Abraham Maslow wrote, “In virtually every waking moment, we are host to one motive or another, even though some motives might be so faint as to be scarcely noticed.
As soon as one motive is satisfied, another pops up to take its place.”

Ranging from the basics of food and shelter at the base of his pyramid, to the self-actualized peak, Maslow described a range of basic human needs that motivate or drive our actions.  Stop to consider that every individual you meet, as Daniel Pink said, is experiencing emotions, perceptions and motivations according to their unique needs.  That’s human nature.

It’s human relations to think about others.

On October 13, 1936, 3000 copies of How to Win Friends and Influence People were printed and released.  No one was more surprised than the author, Dale Carnegie, when the book became an overnight success.

He writes, “So the only way on Earth to influence other people is to talk about what they want and show them how to get it.”  When we stop to consider that every waking moment we are striving to meet our needs at some level, Dale Carnegie’s sage advice was to meet people where they are and make that critical connection.  That’s human relations.

It’s about the experience.
Same song, different verse

From Aesop to Maslow and Carnegie, connecting with others is about stepping outside our experience to consider the needs and desires of others.

Susan Scott, author of Fierce Conversations, says that “Hearing people’s words is only the beginning.”

After more than twenty years as a Dale Carnegie trainer, a talent developer and learning leader, I know that to be true.

In Dale Carnegie’s thirty principles for human relations he reminds us to be genuine, honest and sincere in our dealings with others.  Here are a few of his principles to battle the forces of human nature and build connections with others:

  • Give honest, sincere appreciation.
  • Become genuinely interested in others.
  • Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.
  • Be a good listener.  Encourage others to talk about themselves.

Human Connection:  Beyond what you say and how you say it, it’s how you make me feel.