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How To Win Friends And Influence People Discussion Questions

Instructor: Shanna Fox

Shanna has been an educator for 20 years and earned her Master of Education degree in 2017. She enjoys using her experience to provide engaging resources for other teachers.

Studying 'How to Win Friends and Influence People' with your high school students can be an enlightening journey to more positive interactions with the world. Use these discussion questions to guide them through the four parts of this book.

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People is seen by some as a self-help book and by others as a personal development process or business model. Whatever its ultimate value, this book has nuggets of wisdom that can benefit anyone. Help your high school students analyze and digest the essential themes and concepts within the book, applying them to their own lives.

You may choose to use these questions in a one-on-one conversation with a single student or provide a list of questions to student teams. Questions can also be used as a springboard for a whole group discussion. Additionally, you may want to ask students to respond in writing to a few of the questions to serve as a summative assessment.

  • Note: These questions can be used after students complete each part of the book or as a wrap-up reflection at the end.

Questions about Part One

  • Of the three principles shared in this part of the book, which one do you think is most important and why? Which one do you struggle to apply? Which one are you naturally good at following?
  • How does criticism affect you? Is there a right way to give someone criticism or is it never a good idea to do so? Explain fully.
  • When has someone expressed appreciation to you? When have you shown your appreciation to someone else? What was the effect of that expression? How can you improve in this area?
  • What are some ways you can encourage another person to become ''eager'' about something? Describe what Carnegie means by an ''eager want''. How does this concept apply to your life? Have you ever engaged in a conversation when you did this effectively or the other person did so? What was the result of that conversation?
  • How will the principles within this part of the book change your interactions with others? How will you remember to apply them? Is there one you think you should work on first or give the most attention to? Describe the changes you will make.

Questions about Part Two

  • Of the six principles in this part of the book, which one do you think is most important and why? Are there any you think do not need to be included because they are either obvious or unnecessary? Explain your reasoning.
  • This book was originally published in 1936. Do you think these six principles still apply? Do you think Carnegie should add any new principles, based on current technology and societal changes? Why or why not?
  • Is there an inappropriate time to smile? When might that be? Who does smiling help the most: the person smiling, the people around them, or both? What happens when you greet someone with a smile and it is not returned? How should you handle that type of situation? Do you smile at them again the next time? Why or why not?
  • Is it more powerful to listen and give advice or just to listen with no purpose in mind? Explain your reasoning. Who is the best listener you know? Who do you know that always has a smile? How do these people make you feel about yourself, life, and your friendship with them?
  • How do you remember people's names? What are some strategies that can help you do so? If you forget a person's name after an initial interaction, how do you find out their name again? Is this rude or understandable? Is it better to ask again or to simply not use their name until you can confirm it in another way?
  • How can you make another person feel important? Select a person in your life and set a goal to do so. How will you accomplish this goal? What effect do you think it will have on your relationship with the person?

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