Let’s face it. We all want others to find us interesting.
Being interesting is how we engage, how we connect. It’s how we make friends, grow our circle of professional colleagues.
And, as good leaders know, it’s how we get what we want.
Why? Because being interesting helps create relationships. And relationships are everything.
I’m writing this blog while in the midst of the perfect environment, one filled with lots of interesting people – a conference for national speakers.
In the last 48 hours I’ve sat in some of the most riveting presentations, conducted by extremely talented people…people who connect with hundreds of individuals at once. Mostly without slides. Often without notes.
These people are masters at being interesting.
As I tried to unlock their secret, to learn what makes them so good at being so interesting, I landed on one, pretty simple theme. The key that they all seem to know.
Leave them wanting more.
If we want to be interesting to people…if we want them to pay attention when we speak, to respond when we write, to come to us for advice or with a referral…we need to leave them wanting more.
If we want people to get bored by us, lose interest in us, and move on from us…if we want our conversation to be forgotten the moment we go our separate ways, we give them way too much…of everything.
What does it mean to leave them wanting more?
- It means we don’t tell long stories that include dozens of teensy details
- It means we write emails that are succinct and to the point
- It means we don’t post every meal, task and opinion on facebook
- It means we don’t show up to every single networking event
- It means we listen more than we speak
- It means we leave jobs, posts and positions while we’re still at the top of our game. Before we mess them up
When we leave people wanting more, they will…want more.
- They will ask us follow up questions because our stories intrigue them
- They will schedule another meeting to get to know us better
- They will pass our name on to others who will also find us interesting
To be clear, I’m not saying that leaving them wanting more means we give people incomplete or vague information. I’m not saying to be coy or inauthentic. We need to be clear, real and explicit.
We also need to honor the time of others. We need to know that they won’t ever find our lives, our stories or our problems as interesting as we do. We need to do our best to find the balance between information stimulation and information saturation.
The masters at the conference…the ones who were so interesting, so downright riveting? They got this. Their presentations went on for an hour or more, but they never lost my interest. That hour felt like ten minutes.
Their formula went something like this:
- They gave a brief point
- They told a quick, engaging, story to illustrate it
- They made the point relevant to our own lives
These speakers didn’t spend all kinds of time sorting through minutia or going on about themselves.
They knew the most important thing. That it was the audience that mattered. And that the audience wanted the goods…and nothing else.
The others? The ones who went on too long about themselves, who never go to the point, who told boring tales about their past work? Every minute of their presentations felt like two.
The good news is this: Because there are so many people out there who haven’t mastered how to leave them wanting more…if you get this right you will be that much more interesting to everyone. In fact, you’ll be a welcome relief.
When you leave people wanting more, you’re actually giving them exactly what they want…an interesting exchange that sticks with them long after it’s over. A reason to come back together at another time and do it all over again.
This week, focus on leaving them wanting more. When you communicate with someone…
- Think about what they really need to know – about you, your story, your request
- Think of the juiciest part of the story
- Think of the punch line
Then focus on that. Cut the rest. Let them take it from there.
Do this and more people will want to hear from you, learn from you and be with you. Which means you’re network will grow. So will your circle of friends. So will your professional colleagues.
Leave them wanting more and they’ll come back again and again.
Give it all away up front and you might just find yourself alone.
Now, go do good…and do it well.