Interest is the state of wanting.
Being interesting is being able to hold the attention of people because they want something from you. People that are interesting are able to hold the attention of others.
And attention is valuable in life. We’ll see that in a great monetary value this year at the Super Bowl.
Tens of millions of people, maybe hundreds of millions, will watch. The Super Bowl is interesting and as a result the TV network can command millions of dollars per advertisement.
Being interesting has value for anyone at any level.
Obviously, we all knew the kid growing up that would act out as a way to gain attention. That’s kind of being a faux interesting person. You’re getting attention, in one way, but usually people can see through the noise and figure out if they are getting something valuable.
And that’s where the real trick to being interesting comes in. If you can be a person that provides value to the lives of others, and if you can do it over the long-term, you’ll find value in your own life.
So if you’d like to be more interesting, here are some tips…
Tip #1. Tell Stories
It’s believed that humans developed storytelling skills as a survival mechanism. Stories are somehow able to communicate more to others than simple facts.
You can tell someone not to do something and they might believe you and act.
You’re more likely to convince them if you tell a story about how someone else you know suffered a terrible fate as a result of doing something.
Tell that story well and you can be the person will heed your advice.
Consider the people you admire in your life. Chances are that you know at least one person with expert storytelling skills. They know how to capture your attention and get you to fully buy-in to what they’re talking about.
It might be a funny story about something that happened to them. Or it might be a sad story about someone they were close to.
I have a friend who is really good at storytelling. When we go hunting here in Wisconsin he won’t report back to us that he saw X number of animals during his hunt. He’ll recap the story complete with ups and downs. Sometimes we laugh. Sometimes we’re nervous as he tells us what happened.
Storytelling, like anything, is a learned skill. It’s about finding the right way to build drama and deliver on a promise. It’s about finding the right length. The story needs to be long enough to enthrall, but not be too long so as to bore.
When speaking with others, work on incorporating more stories into your conversation. Over time you’ll find that people pay more attention to what you’re saying.
Tip #2. Make Your Words Count
Rarely do we like someone that talks and talks. These folks can’t live in quiet. They need something to fill the space so they talk and talk and the more they do the less their words mean.
The more you talk the less people are likely to pay attention. I’m not saying that you need to be a mute, but you want to make your words count.
When people hear you speak and they find value in what you’re saying they’ll want you to talk more. But you only get so many chances and if you say too many uninteresting and boring things people will tune you out. And when you do have something interesting to say others won’t be listening.
This is something that can be practiced. It involves considering your words before speaking and you can build the ability to do that quickly the more you practice mindfully engaging in conversation and contributing to conversation.
Tip #3. Listen
People are attracted to people that are good listeners.
Listening, in general, means being full committed when someone is telling you something. You let them finish their thoughts. You ask for clarification if you don’t understand something. You ask followup questions so the person can build on what they’re telling you.
Talking too much can turn people away. Listening is something you really can’t overdo unless you want to avoid attracting many people into your network of friends and acquaintances.
Tip #4. Give
When you’re listening, however, people will ask you for your thoughts. This is an important moment in conversation. People are turned off when you interrupt and provide your thoughts without being asked.
There is a weird phenomenon today where people think that everyone wants to find a solution to something. Sometimes a person just wants you to show understanding for what they’re going through.
What you’ll find is that if you show understanding through listening that people will eventually get to the point where they ask for your thoughts on the situation.
This moment is big.
It’s your chance to take your interestingness to another level by providing thoughtful insight. This insight comes from understanding what the person is saying and being able to provide useful information.
Tip #5. Read
How do you build a wealth of knowledge and useful information?
Some of the most successful people in this world are incredible readers. I just finished Sam Walton’s autobiography and he discussed his thirst for knowledge including his affinity for reading.
Stan Kroenke is making news for building a large stadium in Los Angeles for the now Los Angeles Rams. Stan is married to one of Sam Walton’s nieces and would spend time with Sam and Sam’s brother, Bud.
It’s no surprise that Stan is a reader himself.
People that read – books, articles, newspapers, magazines, etc. – have a large volume of information from which to pull useful insight from.
When you’re engaged in conversation it’s important to listen and to be ready when someone asks for your opinion. The more you read the more prepared you’ll be to provide insight that others will find useful.
Tip #6. Embrace Your Inner Enigma
Being an enigma is being different and sparking curiosity from others simply by the way you live your life. I think this is much of the inspiration behind those Most Interesting Man In The World commercials and ads. That guy is the ultimate enigma. We can’t figure him out. He does crazy things. We think we have him figured out and then he’ll do something completely out of the character that we believed he was.
When you’re different, you can be a curiosity for people. But there’s a trick here and that is finding a way to be different without being a turnoff. Interesting people are not annoying. They don’t overwhelm people and we discussed that earlier.
So you have to find ways to do different things that others want to do, but don’t for whatever reason. And this usually means simply embracing your own curiosities and dreams.
Entrepreneurs are often interesting for leaving their jobs and following a dream. That’s enigmatic in a way because others think about it, but rarely act on it.
Tip #7. Avoid Judgment
We’re going to end on an important aspect of being a human.
Think of the last engagement you had with someone that judged you with your feeling that they didn’t really understand as much about you as they should to make such a judgment.
Do you still find that person interesting or useful in life?
We’re turned off by people that judge us. We’re also attracted to those that appreciate our good qualities. They don’t judge us for what we’ve done and see us for who we are now or for what we could be in the future.
To make yourself interesting and attract to others, avoiding judgment, is key.
Being interesting can open up many opportunities. It can make you someone that others believe in and who want to help you succeed in business and in life in general. When you’re interesting you command attention from others and that’s one of the most powerful things in life. It can lead to money if you look at it that way, but even more it’s a power that you can use to become successful in many ways including by helping others.
So work on the tips above as you work to become a more interesting person. They’re all qualities of some of the most success people in history.