Who doesn’t want to be interesting to people? Being interesting engenders likability, and likability forms and feeds relationships, business and personal. To become likable, you have to be interesting, and to become interesting, you have to become interested in other people. With your interest, you give people an opportunity to talk about themselves.
People love talking about themselves. Has someone ever asked you a question, only to wait for you to finish talking, and then proceed to talk on and on about himself? It’s as if he weren't even interested in you. Rather than talking his ear off in turn, treat your conversation as if you were a stage director shining the spotlight on your friend.
What to talk about? Everyone else leads off with the same “What do you do?” question, but you can do better. Take an interest not in their career, but in their individuality. Here’s a phrase you can use immediately to build rapport with your friend: “What’s one thing that you’re working on right now that you’re most excited about?”
You can find out so much from this one question—namely what means a lot to your friend. They can talk about anything—a new yo-yo, a new business venture, or even their next fishing trip! You can even encourage them to brag—the spotlight is on them, and remember, interested is interesting.
Being interested doesn’t mean that you put on your interrogation hat and barrage your friend with questions. You can use “softening statements (repeating, acknowledging, and showing interest in the subject)” to prime your questions.
Thanks for listening to the Art of Likability. Stay tuned, and stay awesome!