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 not be boring:
Engage 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 on people emotionally. Most interactions look like a flat-line graph. You talk to people and it’s a dull conversation. “What do you do?” “What brings you here?” There is no emotional jump or brain jump. So, to stop being boring you have to cause more emotional excitement for the person. And by the way, this also is more emotionally exciting for you and will help keep you more engaged.
Here are some ideas for 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 ideas for you:
- What has been the best part of your week?
- Besides work, what gets you up in the morning?
- Working on any passion projects at the moment?
Be Interested to Be Interesting
The late American psychologist and educator John Dewey discovered one of the most fundamental aspects of people. He found 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, then 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…
How to be Attractive Verbally:
- Ask questions about what they find important.
- Push their ideas a step further. Ask why and how more than what and when.
- 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 also can 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.
How to Be Attractive Nonverbally:
- Keep your toes pointed toward 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 (see our list of citations) that people will speak three to four 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 eyes 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.
About Vanessa Van Edwards
Lead Investigator, Science of People
I’ve always wanted to know how people work, and that’s what Science of People is about. What drives our behavior? Why do people act the way they do? And most importantly, can you predict and change behavior to be more successful? I think the answer is yes. More about Vanessa.
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