Be Interesting By Being Interested
If you want to be a good conversationalist, be a good listener. To be interesting, be interested. – Dale Carnegie
Have you noticed what a pleasure it is to be around people who are interested, those who want to learn about the world outside their own and the people around them? You should be one of them.
By opening yourself up to all that you can learn from others, you can live a more fulfilling life, regardless of whether your motivations are professional or personal. Truly engage with people and be genuine – you will make connections that can create new opportunities you never thought possible.
Try new things
Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. How long has it been since you did something for the very first time? Pursue your interest in areas that will involve new experiences or delve deeper into something you are already knowledgeable or experienced in. When you show that you’re passionate and engaged in what interests you, you’ll be perceived as more interesting by others.
Be curious and genuine
Approach each new conversation with an open mind: you never know what you might uncover. Enter into each interaction you have curious about the other person and keen to learn as much as you can. Curiosity leads to the accumulation of new viewpoints, so find out what other interesting people can teach you about the world.
Displaying genuine interest is of utmost importance, so don’t make it all about you. Small talk can also make you look disinterested, so avoid it and instead ask insightful questions and converse about experiences, opinions and passions.
Practice active listening
Active listening is a skill you can practice and improve by focusing all your attention and interest on whoever you are communicating with. A great rule of thumb for any conversation is to listen 75% of the time and speak 25%. Just by listening, you can learn so much. Even if what you’re hearing is something you already know, you’re just further confirming you own experiences.
Avoid the common pitfalls that may trip you up – minimise distractions, don’t multitask, don’t think too much about what you will say next, and of course, don’t interrupt the speaker.
Hone your story telling skills
Tell stories that explain as much about who you are as what you do, and tell stories that matter. Stories are what ignite our imagination and turn a thought into a feeling, or an idea into reality. Don’t just dump whatever is on your mind into a conversation, but purposefully shape it to engage and make it interesting.
Find common ground
No matter how small, when engaging in conversations, identify one thing you and those who you are conversing with share an interest in and push the conversation forward. Ask about why they are interested, when their interest sparked, and what they find so fascinating about the subject. Whether it be business, food, sports or travel, this common interest can energise any conversation and create a foundation from which to build.
What do you think?
What made the most fascinating people you’ve ever met so interesting? Comment your views below and join the conversation.
This article was written by Jelena Milutinovic and Megan Baker on behalf of the Australian Institute of Business. All opinions are that of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of AIB. The following sources were used to compile this article: An Uncluttered Life; Inc. and LinkedIn