How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Boardroom

Invaluable advice that can be applied to any organization and improve relationships and foster collaboration.

I. Introduction

Today, I will discuss a book that has been a game-changer for leaders and influencers in all walks of life: “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” This book, written by the legendary Dale Carnegie, is a must-read for anyone wanting to succeed in their personal life and business. In today’s post, we will explore how the principles outlined in this book can be explicitly applied to the boardroom. We’ll cover topics like avoiding criticism, the power of appreciation, and the art of active listening. So buckle up and prepare to take your leadership skills to the next level!

I. Don’t Criticize

“Actions speak louder than words, and a smile and a kind word can undo all the damage that criticism and negativity can cause.”

Don’t Criticize Your CEO
As a board member, it is crucial to understand that criticizing the CEO without offering constructive feedback can harm the company’s productivity and create a hostile environment. It is, therefore, essential to approach the situation with a growth mindset and provide solutions that can help the CEO and the organization progress.

To provide constructive feedback without creating a toxic atmosphere, reframing your feedback in a positive and supportive manner is best. For example, offer suggestions that can help improve the situation instead of pointing out mistakes. For instance, instead of saying, “you made a mistake,” you could say, “Here are some ideas that can help us avoid this issue in the future.”

Adopting a solution-oriented approach can encourage a culture of continuous improvement and development within the company. Remember that as a board member, your role is to support and guide the CEO, and providing constructive feedback can help the company grow and achieve its goals.

Additionally, it is essential for board members to remember their role as advisors and supporters of the CEO. While having disagreements or differing opinions is natural, it is important to approach these situations with respect and a willingness to listen. Avoid attacking the CEO personally and focus on the issues at hand.

Establishing regular meetings and check-ins helps facilitate effective communication between the board and the CEO. In addition, this can provide a structured and productive environment for discussing concerns and providing feedback.

Ultimately, board members can help the CEO and company achieve their goals by focusing on constructive feedback and solutions. In addition, by fostering a culture of growth and development, the entire organization can benefit from open communication and a willingness to learn and improve.

Don’t Criticuze Fellow Board Members
Getting caught up in disagreements and misunderstandings with colleagues is easy as a board member. However, it’s crucial to remember that criticism of other members can damage team morale and company culture. Instead, approach the situation with a constructive mindset and provide feedback to help others grow and develop. Doing so can help create a supportive and respectful work environment that encourages collaboration and success.

Finding the right words when addressing concerns with fellow board members can be challenging. However, it’s essential to communicate in a way that fosters understanding and respect. Avoid pointing out mistakes or flaws and instead focus on offering solutions and guidance that can help your colleagues improve. You can build trust and strengthen peer relationships by working together to achieve common goals.

Remember that you must guide and support your colleagues as a board member. Therefore, it’s essential to approach the situation with empathy and understanding, acknowledging that everyone has a unique perspective and experience. You can create a positive and collaborative work environment that fosters growth and success by listening to others and providing feedback constructively and respectfully.

Ultimately, by avoiding criticism and focusing on solutions, you can contribute to a culture of excellence within your company and achieve your shared vision for the future.

Board Chairs can Foster a Positive and Collaborative Environment
The board chair fosters a positive and collaborative environment among board members. To prevent criticism and promote constructive feedback, the chair can set the tone for meetings by emphasizing the importance of mutual respect and open communication. In addition, the chair can encourage board members to listen actively to each other’s opinions and offer feedback in a constructive and supportive manner.

Furthermore, the board chair can facilitate training sessions or workshops to help board members develop their communication and conflict-resolution skills. This can include giving and receiving feedback, active listening, and problem-solving strategies. The chair can help board members improve their communication skills and build stronger relationships by providing resources and opportunities for personal growth and development.

The board chair’s leadership and guidance can significantly impact the board’s culture and productivity. In addition, by promoting a positive and collaborative work environment, the chair can help board members work together toward achieving their shared goals and objectives.

In summary, board members must provide constructive feedback and offer solutions that help the CEO, and the company grow. Fostering a culture of growth and development requires reframing feedback in a positive and supportive way. A good chair can act as a mediator, ensuring that communication between the board and the CEO is respectful and productive. At the same time, regular meetings and check-ins can facilitate effective communication.

Moreover, it’s equally important for board members to avoid criticizing each other. Instead, board members should provide constructive feedback and solutions to help the company grow. By reframing input in a positive and supportive way, board members can build stronger relationships and foster a collaborative work environment.

Ultimately, by focusing on constructive feedback and solutions, board members can support the CEO and the company in achieving their goals while promoting a culture of growth and development within the organization. The organization can thrive and achieve greater success with a positive and collaborative work environment.

II. Give Honest and Sincere Appreciation

“Be hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise.”

The Power of Appreciation in the Boardroom
In today’s fast-paced and competitive business world, it’s easy to forget the impact of appreciation. However, taking the time to acknowledge and express gratitude for the hard work and accomplishments of others can have a powerful effect on morale and productivity.

As a board member, it’s crucial to recognize the efforts and contributions of the CEO, management team, staff, and fellow board members. By providing honest and sincere appreciation, you can foster a culture of recognition and appreciation that can strengthen relationships, increase loyalty, and enhance commitment. This can also create a positive and supportive work environment that encourages collaboration and innovation.

In short, expressing gratitude is a simple yet effective way to recognize and motivate the hard work and dedication of others. By showing appreciation as a board member, you can help to create a positive and productive workplace culture that benefits everyone.

How Appreciation Can Inspire Loyalty and Commitment
Appreciation can inspire loyalty and commitment in several ways. First, when employees and colleagues feel valued and appreciated, they are more likely to feel invested in the organization’s success. This can lead to increased engagement, motivation, and productivity.

Furthermore, expressing appreciation can help build an organization’s positive and supportive culture. When individuals feel valued and supported, they are more likely to work collaboratively and foster a sense of community.

In the boardroom, expressing appreciation can also help build trust and strengthen relationships between board members and the CEO. In addition, by acknowledging the efforts and achievements of the CEO and their team, board members can demonstrate their support and commitment to the organization’s success.

Giving honest and sincere appreciation is a powerful tool for building morale, trust, and commitment in the boardroom and beyond. As a board member, taking the time to recognize and express gratitude for the efforts and contributions of others can help foster a positive and productive culture within the organization.

III. Arouse in the Other Person an Eager Want

“If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.”

The Importance of Understanding the Needs and Desires of the CEO, Management Team, and Fellow Board Members

Understanding the needs and desires of the CEO, management team, and fellow board members is critical for effective communication and decision-making in the boardroom. By taking the time to listen and understand their perspectives, board members can better align their ideas and proposals with the interests and goals of the organization.

Furthermore, arousing an eager want in others requires a deep understanding of their motivations and desires. This can help board members communicate in a way that resonates with the CEO and management team, leading to more successful outcomes and increased buy-in.

Ideas That Align Interests and Goals With Your Mission
To present ideas that align with the interests and goals of the CEO, management team, and fellow board members, it’s vital to ensure that personal interests and goals align with the organization’s mission-requiring active listening, open communication, and a deep understanding of the company’s vision, values, and objectives.

Board members must take the time to understand their colleagues’ perspectives and motivations and actively seek feedback to understand their interests and goals better. By doing so, board members can develop proposals more likely to be well-received and aligned with the company’s overall strategy.

In addition, board members need to remain flexible and adaptable as the company’s interests and goals may evolve. By remaining open to feedback and willing to change their proposals, board members can demonstrate their commitment to the organization’s success and build strong, trusting relationships with their colleagues.

Overall, aligning personal interests and goals with the company’s mission requires a collaborative and proactive approach. By actively listening, communicating effectively, and remaining adaptable, board members can work together to achieve the organization’s goals and drive successful outcomes in the boardroom.

IV. Talk in Terms of the Other Person’s Interests

“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”

When presenting ideas, consider how they align with the interests of the CEO and Colleagues
For example, if proposing a new strategy, it is crucial to explain how it can benefit the organization and, specifically, how it can help achieve the CEO’s goals. By doing so, board members can demonstrate their commitment to the organization’s success and build trust and cooperation among colleagues.

As for the fellow board members, it’s essential to consider their interests and goals. Everyone on the board has a unique perspective and priorities that should be considered when discussing important issues. By taking the time to understand each other’s viewpoints and interests, board members can collaborate more effectively and make better decisions for the organization.

Overall, by focusing on the interests of others in the boardroom, board members can build stronger relationships, create a more positive and productive work environment, and achieve better outcomes for the organization.

V. Remember Names

“Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”

The power of remembering names in the boardroom
Remembering the names of the people you work with is one of the most powerful tools for establishing positive relationships in the boardroom. This may seem like a small detail, but it can significantly impact how people perceive you and your level of respect for them. Remembering someone’s name shows that you value them and are interested in what they say.

Discussion of how this skill can help establish positive relationships
For CEOs and fellow board members, remembering names is especially important. As leaders, they have a lot on their minds and often interact with many different people. Taking the time to remember names shows they are invested in building relationships with their team and colleagues. It can also help to create a sense of camaraderie and mutual respect among board members.

Remembering names is a simple but powerful way to establish positive relationships and demonstrate respect in the boardroom. It is a skill that can be developed through practice and attention to detail, and it can significantly impact the success of the board and the company as a whole.

VI. Avoid Arguments

“You can’t win an argument. You can’t because if you lose it, you lose it; and if you win it, you lose it.”

Avoid arguments in the boardroom
In any boardroom, disagreements are bound to occur. However, arguments can be highly counterproductive and create a tense and uncomfortable environment. Arguments can also make it challenging to reach a consensus, which is crucial for any board to make effective decisions. Moreover, arguments can damage relationships between the board members, management team, and the CEO.

How to find common ground and build consensus
To avoid arguments and promote healthy discussions, board members should focus on finding common ground and building consensus. Board members should listen to each other’s perspectives, understand different points of view, and work towards a common goal. In addition, they should aim to find common interests, values, and goals and use them as a foundation for decision-making. Board members should also strive to maintain a respectful and professional tone during discussions, avoid personal attacks, and be open to constructive feedback.

To build consensus, board members should encourage collaboration and actively seek input and ideas from the CEO, management team, and fellow board members. They should also work together to identify and evaluate different solutions, weigh the pros and cons of each option, and make a decision that aligns with the company’s goals and values.

By finding common ground and building consensus, board members can create a positive and productive boardroom environment that promotes healthy discussions and effective decision-making.

VII. Be a Good Listener

“Listen to others, encourage them to talk, and show sincere interest in their lives.”

Explanation of the importance of being a good listener in the boardroom
A good listener is essential in any environment; the boardroom is no exception. Active listening means paying attention to what the other person is saying, clarifying misunderstandings, and responding thoughtfully. Feeling heard and understood can create a more collaborative and productive environment in the boardroom. As a board member, listening actively to the CEO, management team, and fellow board members is crucial to understand their perspectives, concerns, and ideas.

Actively listen to colleagues, clients, and shareholders
To be a good listener, one must be fully present in the conversation and give their undivided attention. One way to demonstrate active listening is by paraphrasing and summarizing what the other person is saying. This technique ensures that both parties are on the same page and prevents misunderstandings. Additionally, asking open-ended questions can encourage further dialogue and allow others to share their thoughts and ideas.

It is also essential to avoid distractions and interruptions during conversations. For example, checking emails or messages during a board meeting can give the impression that the person needs to be more fully engaged or interested in the discussion. If something urgent arises, it is better to temporarily excuse oneself from the conversation and return when one can give their full attention.

Furthermore, body language can convey a lot during conversations. Maintaining eye contact, nodding, and leaning forward can signal interest and engagement in the discussion. On the other hand, crossing arms or legs or looking away can communicate disinterest or disagreement. Being mindful of one’s body language can help create a positive and collaborative environment in the boardroom.

Being a good listener is a critical skill in the boardroom that can help build trust, understanding, and consensus among board members, the management team, and the CEO.


In conclusion, Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People” offers invaluable advice that can be applied in the boardroom to improve relationships and foster collaboration. By following the principles of not criticizing, giving honest and sincere appreciation, arousing an eager want, talking about the other person’s interests, remembering names, avoiding arguments, and being a good listener, board members and CEOs can build positive relationships and work together more effectively. These skills are essential for navigating the complex dynamics of the boardroom and ensuring that everyone’s voice is heard. In addition, by focusing on building strong relationships and understanding the needs of others, board members can create a more productive and successful business. So, remember to implement these principles in your next board meeting and see the power of Dale Carnegie’s teachings in action.

how to win friends in the boardroom