Any time we are going to encounter people, whether it’s at a social event a party or even one on one we want to present ourselves to be interesting. We want to look nice, and we want to dress well, say the right things the right way, and be interesting in our conversations.
As a shy person, this was always difficult for me until I learned the principle of being “interested instead of interesting.”
You see, I don’t particularly like talking a lot – unless I’m on stage or somebody asks me a question about something I know. When I first understood this principle, it made perfect sense. I just had to be the person asking the questions. Since nobody likes talking about things that they don’t know about, I just had to make sure I asked them questions about something they knew, either their profession what they did – but always something about them. After all, the thing we know the most about is who we are and what we do.
When I learned to ask questions about others, I realized I didn’t have to talk very much. When they finished, I learned to ask, “Can you tell me more about that?” What I discovered is that by asking this question – I learned a lot about the people and many other things. After the conversation, oddly enough, they found me to be very interesting – and I hadn’t said much! We all love recognition and questions are a form of recognition. Questions say that I’m interested, that you have value, that I want to hear from you, and that you have something that could enlighten me! My mentor taught me to collect questions and it has been a tremendous asset.
The concept is this: When you try to be interesting, you’re thinking about yourself when you try to be interested, you’re thinking about others.
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