Monday, January 28, 2013

The Art of Being Interesting

If you want people to be interested in you, give them something to be interested in. BE interesting. If you're interesting then you are memorable. When so many other things are competing for the attention of your audience, if something about you is not memorable then you are left lining the bottom of the proverbial bird cage.

Think about your past accomplishments.  Your LIFE accomplishments, not just work.  What have you done that is different or unique from your audience?  What have you experienced that might make them sit up and take notice?  I have had clients that felt there was nothing particularly 'special' about themselves until we started talking about their background.  During these conversations I discovered a client that...

  • had once lived in a monastery and trained to be a monk.
  • had moved, on their own, from a foreign country to North America, at the age of 17, to live and work.  They did not speak English at the time and had no family here.
  • had hiked Mount Kilimanjaro
  • had survived a tornado when a child, when their entire house was levelled
  • had written a book
  • had been attacked by a shark while swimming in the ocean on a vacation
  • had built an igloo to live in for a winter camping exercise
  • had backpacked throughout Europe as a teenager for a full year
  • had travelled through the desert for a month on camelback
  • had volunteered for a year in Africa helping to build schools
  • had taken in and raised her sister's four children, when her sister and brother-in-law died in a car crash, along with her own five children
  • had won numerous cooking contests 
  • had completed more than 18 marathons
  • had built their existing house from scratch, doing most of the design and building themselves
Are these not things that, if faced with this person, you would want to know more about?  And yet, these people didn't recognise the value of their accomplishments and experiences, downplaying the interest others might have in them.  All too often we make the mistake of assuming that because we have done something, that anyone could have done it.  If your audience hasn't then it's worth the telling.  Here's the kicker... even if your audience has done it, they will likely enjoy hearing about your experiences to compare and contrast them to theirs.  Again...  interesting for them.

In business it is important to differentiate yourself from the crowd.  Certainly, we want and hope that our work will do that for us.  However, we have a wealth of other experiences that, when shared appropriately, can add more depth and breadth to our work accomplishments, helping our audience to understand us more fully and to appreciate our strength, confidence, tenacity, perseverance, commitment, generosity.... in a new and clearer light.

What are your stories?

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