Begin with praise and honest appreciation
If you start your conversation with words of appreciation it will help soften the blow. Carnegie believes, 'Beginning with praise is like the dentist who begins his work with Novocain. The patient still gets a drilling but the Novocain is pain killing.'
Call attention to people's mistakes indirectly
People too often follow their praise with 'but' and end with a critical statement. This makes the original praise appear insincere and contrived. Carnegie suggests that we instead substitute 'but' for 'and'. He uses an example, 'We're really proud of you for raising your grades this term, and by continuing the same efforts next term, your algebra grade can be up with all the others.' Here, we have called attention to the behaviour we wish to change indirectly, and the chances are the person will try and live up to our expectations.
Talk about your own mistakes before criticising the other person
If you do have to highlight someone's faults, you should do so humbly. If the person criticising begins by admitting the fact that they themselves are far from perfect it will be less difficult to listen to a recital of your own faults.
Ask questions instead of giving direct orders
By asking questions you often stimulate the creativity of others. Carnegie believes that, 'People are more likely to accept an order if they have had a part in the decision that caused the order to be issued.'
Let the other person save face
The importance of allowing someone to save face can't be underestimated. Too often people 'ride roughshod over the feelings of others, getting our own way, finding fault, issuing threats, criticising a child or an employee in front of others, without even considering the hurt to the other person's pride.' If we considered the other person’s feelings it would go a long way in alleviating the sting.