Want to Be More Interesting?

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Introducing Jason Grant, Regional Director of Leadership Development for The John Maxwell Group.  Jason strives to ask great questions of people and has a passion for sincerely building folks up with genuine encouragement. He enjoys the practical application of leadership. Whenever talking with Jason his passion for leadership and commitment to making a difference in the lives of others is evident.  He walks his talk and I am thrilled he accepted my invitation to host his first guest post.

Shut your yapper. Zip the lip. Park it will ya! Blah, blah, blah, blah…blah.

“I did…I was…I am…”

ME this, ME that, it’s all about ME BABY!!

It’s time for a reality check. Guess what? No one really cares…at least not that much.

It baffles me how many people still have not learned the valuable lesson of “being quick to listen and slow to speak.” The irony is that if mastered, you will actually find yourself immensely MORE interesting to other people.

Would you like to be the most fascinating person someone had ever met?

There is a story told by sales coach Michael Pink about a young man who approaches relationship-building by living out a creative, outside-the-box experiment.  In his story, the young man decides to go to a party and not mention a single thing about himself. The whole night is designed to do nothing, absolutely nothing, but ask questions of others and see what happens. He walks in, immediately meets two ladies, and begins his test. Hours pass. He doesn’t speak to anyone else in the party and says nothing of himself.

While leaving the party, the young women chat about their evening. When conversation turns toward their new male friend, they mutually agree on their opinion of the man, saying that man was the most fascinating man they have ever met in their lives.

Can you believe that? The MOST fascinating? They didn’t even know a thing about the guy!  How can that be? Because we love talking about ourselves.

That’s why leaders train themselves to think others first. Always.

Should we never speak about ourselves? Of course not!  So what is the lesson?

Focusing on others first will positively enhance their perception of you.

Be intentionally considerate of others… first.

Show respect to others…first.

Be a great listener…first.

Work on your listening skills by repeating what someone says back to them, and keep asking great questions. Let them run the conversation…the talking part I mean!

Being genuinely other-centered is actually a critical leadership skill. Doing these things consistently and sincerely will serve you not only in leadership and sales, but in life.

The great book of Philippians says that we should do nothing of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than ourselves. I believe that includes spending inordinate amounts of time getting to know others first before seeking to have others get to know us. Work hard to be the one who asks more questions!

Do this, and watch how interesting you become to others.


Enter A Comment

Jon Mertz   |   06 December 2012   |   Reply

Great points, Jason! Someone once said don’t try to be too interesting. Try hard to be interested. I believe this is an accurate distinction to embrace in our conversations and interactions with others. With this approach, it is amazing what will unfold.

Thanks for highlighting this important message and advice. Jon

Jason Grant   |   14 December 2012   |   Reply

Thanks Jon – appreciated.

Mike   |   06 December 2012   |   Reply

Great advice! A good way to summarize: you have 2 ears and one mouth, use them in that proportion. Very applicable advice.

Jason Grant   |   14 December 2012   |   Reply

Thank you Mike – my dad said the very same thing! Timely and correct!

Todd Hall   |   11 December 2012   |   Reply

I appreciate your thought here Jason. As I spend part of my time doing therapy and teaching grad students how to do therapy, this resonates a lot. I just told my students today that 90% of what I do in therapy is active listening. I think this applies in leadership and all relationships. Thanks again…

Jason Grant   |   14 December 2012   |   Reply

You said it Todd – ALL relationships benefit when listening dominates. Thank you

Gary Winters   |   13 December 2012   |   Reply

Ever listen to someone holding a one-way cell phone conversation on a bus (annoying enough) who never seems to pause at all for the person on the other end to say anything? I don’t want to be THAT person!

I try to ask questions whenever I can, sometimes just to draw someone out who might not talk much otherwise, but it also helps me not to monopolize a conversation. In the business world, with so many egos, it’s a good practice to learn to listen to someone else.

Jason Grant   |   14 December 2012   |   Reply

Thanks Gary – my passion behind this story above is the other-centeredness of the man. In ALL of relationships (as Todd mentioned above), seek first know others (genuinely and with right motives) before being known yourself. It’s refreshingly “uncommon” to find many folks like this today.