Tuesday, September 20, 2016

How To Not Be So Interesting

Most people love to talk about themselves, and most people have become pretty good at it.
A few weeks ago I wrote in this space a Blog titled "Do We Talk Too Much?" where I mentioned this thought: Be interested, not interesting. I went on to say that when someone shares a thought or relates a story, instead of giving my opinion, or sharing my own story and thoughts on the matter, I stop and allow that person to share some more.

Some of us are more interesting than others. Some of us are the most entertaining person in the room. Some of us are just plain odd (a description my wife sometimes places on me). But all of us can become not so interesting.

How can we do that? By simply becoming interested in the other person/people around us. We can do that by asking good questions.

Allow me to share some questions to ask which will make us less interesting and more interested:
  • How did you spend your long-weekend? (Instead of "Let me tell you what I did on my long-weekend...") If they ask us how we spent ours, we can respond: "I had a great time away with my family. What about you?" 
  • What are some of the books you are reading? (Instead of "Let me tell you about this book I just read...") If we are asked what we are reading, we can share the title of the book(s) and then quickly follow-up with: What about you? (By the way, that was a subtle hint to turn off the TV and read.)
  • How is it going at your job? (Instead of "Let me tell you what happened at my work this week...") Again, if we are asked this question, we can give a quick response, and then ask: How is it going at your job?
  • What is your favorite (hardest, most challenging, best) part of your job (vacation, hobby, childhood memory)? You get the picture...

In summary:
  • Ask questions that people want to be asked.
  • Allow questions that we are asked to be a springboard for another's response by simply asking it back. 
  • Go deeper than "Did you see the (your favorite team) game?" Life is more than sports.
  • Ask questions that are open-ended and allow others to share what is important to them.

Do you see the theme here? It's not difficult to direct attention away from ourselves and allow others to share about their dreams, goals, and lives. That is how true relationships are built. That is how we can add value to other's lives. Lead Well!

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