There is an epidemic of boring in our society. And this plagues all of us.
Boring kills dates, networking events, sales and deals.
But, when we fight dullness we are more attractive, more memorable and more likable. That’s what I want to talk about today.
Here’s how to combat the boring:
Excite the Brain
Our brains are like really hungry toddlers–they are easily bored and demand to be fed with entertaining nuggets.
New York Times best-selling author and developmental molecular biologist, John Medina discovered that the brain has a very short attention span. Our brains are attracted to intriguing, interesting, engaging people and things. Luckily, you are an intriguing, interesting, engaging person! Here’s how you can showcase it…
Turn People On
Now get your mind out of the gutter! I’m talking about what turns people on emotionally. Most interactions look like a flat line graph. You talk to people and it’s a dull conversation, how are you, what do you do, what brings you here. There is no emotional jump or brain jump. To stop being boring you create emotional and intellectual excitement in the conversation. It’s time to stop going through the predictable motions of conversation and start having fun when you talk to people.
Here’s how to get that emotional excitement going…
Stop Using Social Scripts
When you meet someone or are on a date you ask the same questions over and over and give the same answers. So if you want to be engaging you have to get out of your comfort zone and start asking questions that matter. Here are three ways to replace boring social scripts with engaging conversation starters:
- Instead of “how are you?” Ask “What was the highlight of your day?”
- Instead of “what do you do?” Ask “Working on anything exciting lately?”
- Instead of “what brings you here?” Ask “Have you ever been to an event like this before?”
Throughout your conversations with people, be bold and ask unusual questions. Doing so forces people to abandon their default answers to basic questions and reveal something interesting about themselves.
Be Interested to Be Interesting
Leading psychologist John Dewey discovered one of the most fundamental aspects of people. He found that there is one thing that every person on this earth wants:
To feel important.
Once someone has the basics of food and shelter all they want is to feel cherished, valued and worthy. When we are interested, we are more interesting! Here’s the psychology behind it: If you can make someone feel important by valuing their opinions, time or feelings, and being interested YOU will be attractive and interesting to them.
Here’s your challenge: Next time you are at an event or out with a friend approach all conversations with one goal: Make whoever you are speaking with feel valued. Try this…
Become Verbally Attractive
While most people worry about what they should say when they prepare for conversations, you should really focus on how you are going to get the other person to reveal the most interesting details about themselves. This approach sparks more engaging conversations and gives you a better chance of forming lasting connections.
- Ask questions about what they find important. Not only does this show you’re genuinely interested in them but, it also helps you find mutual interests that will help you form lasting connections.
- Push their ideas a step further. Ask why and how questions to get to know people on a deeper level and to find common values and ways of thinking.
- Commit to total engagement. I’m totally calling you out on your fake trip to the bathroom, pretending to check your very important email or looking over their head as you talk to them to see who might be more interesting. Stop it! I promise, engaging will make you both interested and interesting.
You can also be attractive nonverbally. You know how much we love our body language research. And studies show that the majority of our communication is actually nonverbal. On the conservative side, studies have found a minimum of 60% (which is still A LOT!) and that goes up to 93%.
Listen with Your Entire Body
If you struggle in social situations because you’re quiet, these tips are your lifesavers. By engaging nonverbally, you can get other people to do most of the talking and still make a great impression.
- Keep your toes pointed towards the person speaking. I know this seems silly but our brains pick up on people’s foot direction and use it to gauge interest. As you are listening to someone, you can make them feel valued by keeping your toes and torso pointed at them as they speak. It’s kind of like nonverbally telling them, “I’m with you! I hear you! Keep going!” And that is the best compliment you can give someone.
- Use a triple nod. Studies have shown that people will speak 3 to 4 times longer if you do three slow nods in a row when they have finished speaking. It’s like a nonverbal … So, when someone finishes their statement, look them in the eye and nod three times as if to say, “keep going.” They often will continue and you end up having a much deeper conversation. (And if they don’t it’s no big deal, just take a sip of your drink and ask your next question).
If you try even one of these techniques, all with the goal of making others feel important and fighting boredom, you will be amazed at how much more interesting your conversations will be.
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