To Be Interesting Be Interested
Julian Treasure has a lot of videos on YouTube, but two are particular interesting…
The first is How to speak so that people want to listen.
The second is 5 ways to listen better.
The first has over six times the views and it hasn’t been online as long.
That’s interesting to me.
It seems we want people to listen to us, but we’re not really that interested in learning how to listen to others.
That’s a recipe for disappointment.
There’s a similar saying I’ve heard that goes something like, “If you expect top dollar, but only want to pay bottom dollar you’re in for disappointment…”
I’m sure you’ve run into that all the time in business. Everybody is trying to get you to drop your price.
But do you ever negotiate with others to get them to bring their prices down?
Being An Interesting Person
We often think that to be an interesting person, someone others want to be around and talk about to others, that we have to have interesting things to say.
I’ve been paying attention to people in my life and even new people I meet. And I’m starting to think that the opposite is true.
The most interesting people are the ones that are the best listeners. They’re the ones that show the most interest in what you’re saying to them. They ask questions. They don’t interrupt. They dig deeper. They put their ego aside and look for ways to have an engaging conversation about a topic you care about.
They make you think. They make you feel good. They make you want to talk to them again.
How To Be Interested
Now the question becomes how you can be interested in what other people are saying.
Trust me. I know that it’s not always easy to do. George Carlin was pretty spot on with this bit. We all have a pretty low tolerance for stupid BS.
We may not say it to people’s face, but we show it with our actions.
They start telling us something and we look away. They keep telling us something and we pull out our phone and check Twitter for a split second.
Obviously that’s not going to come off very good. You’re not going to be a very interesting person if you’re not interested in what the other person is saying.
So here are a few tips for being more interested:
1. Think “Huh…”
When the person gets started on a topic you’ll probably have a quick opinion.
They don’t want to hear it. They want to tell you their opinion.
Instead, frame your mind to think, “Huh…I wonder what direction they’re going with this…”
That will buy you a little time.
2. Dig Deeper
After the initial flurry the person will probably pause.
Now, you might need to interrupt them. Some people can go on for a long time if you let them.
See this clip with Conan and Jordan.
Anyway, the key at this point is to dig deeper. Ask questions about the topic that you think would lead to something that interests you.
Let’s say the person is talking about a topic that you’re not really that into. Maybe deep sea diving or something.
But you are interested in books. Ask the person what their favorite books are about deep sea diving.
You’re looking for common ground here. A reason for you to be curious and validation for the other person to make them feel like you really care about what they’re saying.
And if it works you really will care about what they’re saying.
3. No Help. No Advice.
They don’t want it.
Most of the time people want your ear. They want validation. They don’t want your help or advice. If you give it you’ll turn them off and you won’t come off as an interesting person.
It may often seem like they want help. But really they just want to get something off their chest.
Instead of giving advice go back to asking questions. Help them work through their feelings, but steer clear of advice.
Think about the people in your life that you enjoy talking with the most. Think about the most interesting people that you know.
Odds are that they’re the best listeners. They’re not boastful. They’re not loud. They’re probably the quiet ones. The ones that care the most to be curious about other people.
Heck, The Most Interesting Man in the World rarely talks. He’s always doing something. When he’s around others he’s usually listening and asking questions. Meeting new people.
Follow his lead.