(Time) 7 Things the Most Interesting People All Have in Common
What’s the best way to use all this information to be more interesting?
1) First, Don’t Be Boring
Sometimes the best offense is a good defense. Look at it like the Hippocratic Oath of conversations: Do no harm.
We’re all terrible at realizing when we bore others because, well, we all think we’re just fascinating.
If you’re always to the point and stay upbeat, it’s extremely hard for anyone to accuse you of being poor company.
But sometimes you do need to speak a little longer to make sure things don’t get stilted.
The Art of Civilized Conversation offers another good tip: Is anyone asking you questions about what you’re saying?
If not, maybe it’s time to end the story or ask the other person a question.
(More rapport building techniques are here.)
2) The Most Captivating People Are Often Good Listeners
Impressing people can be great but it can also devolve into status jockeying, one-upmanship and envy.
People love to talk about themselves and there are a dearth of good listeners.
Let the other person talk. It gives their brain as much pleasure as food or money:
Talking about ourselves—whether in a personal conversation or through social media sites like Facebook and Twitter—triggers the same sensation of pleasure in the brain as food or money…
You can make an excellent impression by saying amazingly little.Ironically, the people we like the most often say the least.
(Learn how to listen like a hostage negotiator here.)
3) Talk About The Other Person’s Interests
This is straight from Dale Carnegie and if you’re not that socially adept, this is as straightforward as it gets.
Why struggle to guess what most people might find generically interesting?
Ask people what they’ve been up to or what their hobbies are. Then talk about that. You’re now 80% of the way there.
If you know about the subject the similarity will bond you.
If you don’t, ask them to explain and be a great listener as they talk about something they love.
(More on the science behind Dale Carnegie’s classic here.)
4) Have Three Good Stories
Comedians don’t just talk about anything when they’re onstage. They have their act rehearsed.
You don’t just trot into a job interview and say whatever’s on your mind.
Always have three good stories on hand that reliably entertain, inform or engage.
Another tip from Scott Adams: People are generally more interested in stories about people rather than things.
Drama, gossip and reality TV are successful for a reason. We all find human behavior fascinating.
On the other hand, most people don’t want to hear about the features on your new iPhone.
(More on how to tell good stories here.)
5) Don’t Forget Charisma
It’s not all about the words. Some people are engaging but if what they said was transcribed, it would be unimpressive.
When you’re speaking emotionally, the words only account for 7% of what get conveyed. Seven percent.
Voice tone and body language are far more important.
One often quoted study (Mehrabian & Ferris, 1967) found that of all the information conveyed to another person when we say something that is emotional (not informational), only 7 percent is contained in the actual meaning of the words we use.
Laugh. Smile. Be passionate. Gesture. Modulate your voice. Don’t just sweat the words.
(Here’s how to be charismatic.)