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30 principles to level-up your Soft Skills (Carnegie’s wisdom remix)

Photo by Jens Johnsson on Unsplash

Note: I originally put this article together as a resource for developers joining their first remote developer team at Chingu. After a few years and thousands of remote developer collaborations launched, I remain convinced that soft skills are grossly underestimated. I hope you find this valuable.

Your Skills Stack should not be limited to just technical skills.


  1. Don’t criticize, condemn, or complain.
  2. Give honest and sincere appreciation.
  3. Arouse in the other person an eager need or want.
  4. Become genuinely interested in other people.
  5. Smile.[emojis work just as well]
  6. Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
  7. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
  8. Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.
  9. Make the other person feel important — and do it sincerely.
  10. The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.


  1. Show respect for other person’s opinions. Never say, “You’re wrong.”
  2. If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
  3. Begin in a friendly way.
  4. Get the other person saying “yes, yes” immediately.
  5. Let the other person do a a great deal of the talking.
  6. Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers.
  7. Try honestly to see things from the other persons point of view.
  8. Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires.
  9. Appeal to the other nobler motives.
  10. Dramatize your ideas.


  1. Throw down a challenge.
  2. Begin with praise and honest appreciation.
  3. Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly.
  4. Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.
  5. Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.
  6. Let the other person save face.
  7. Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. Be “hearty in your appreciation and lavish in your praise.”
  8. Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.
  9. Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.
  10. Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.

All the above are Carnegie principles.

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