Don't Be So Interesting
Written by David Pullan
A few years ago I was at a networking event where I was described to a group as ‘that actor bloke who helps people talk.’
One of the group turned to me and said coldly, ‘It must be very intimidating for you being surrounded by all of these intelligent city types.’
Essentially he was saying that I wasn’t very interesting to him.
Suffice to say that I resisted the desire to reach for my qualifications and use them to pad my fist as I delivered a right hook.
What I did was
• Remember the research I’d done about the people I was likely to meet
• Switch on my curiosity gene
• And launch into open questions.
I knew this chap was semi retired and spent half of his time in a very temperate part of the UK where he sailed his yacht.
‘Oh well, I seem to have got away with it so far,’ I said. ‘But I’ve been told that you live in [x], I hear it has a bit of a micro climate.’
Well, half an hour later I’d heard about his prize vegetables, learnt about the yachting scene where he lived, we’d swapped cards and he’d offered to introduce me to some other people.
What this taught me was that it is far more important to be interested than it is to be interesting.
If you can park your ego, develop genuine interest in others and master the art of questioning in conversation you will be amazed at how much more you will get out of interactions.
Not only that, but by being interested in others you will come over as being very interesting.
This week have a go at getting people to open up by being genuinely curious and using open questions.