About a month ago, I saw a tweet from Ted Rubin, king of RonR (return on relationship) and someone who I have a lot of respect for, mainly due to his viewpoint of how to conduct yourself in business through the seemingly basic principle of being good to others (hence the term he coined, Return On Relationship).
I am a strong believer in the getting is in the giving and it seems as if Ted seems to be quite an authority on giving so, when he mentioned that Dale Carnegie’s, How To Win Friends and Influence People was on the top of his list of must-read books, I knew that needed to be the next in my Audible queue.
I finished the book a few weeks ago and am happy to report that Ted was right on the money. There were so many takeaways I have from the book that I will be dedicating a number of posts on Hustle Branding to discussing some of the principles.
There is a reason I am very passionate about this subject as I went a very long time in my business career believing that in order to get the respect of people I needed to be ruthless and feared by all. I simply thought that was the only way to be successful. The result was not pretty. I just became an a*shole who had some money in his pocket. Nothing less, nothing more.
Today, if I can’t win the respect of people and still maintain a kind and giving mindset, I simply won’t do business with them.
So what in the world does this have to do with learning how to be the most interesting person in the world?
If you read the book you probably know the answer to this question. If you haven’t, let me give you the cliff notes answer in two words…
Interesting People Who Are The Opposite Of interesting
I have been fortunate (or unfortunate) enough throughout my years to have met a number of people who have achieved very high levels of fame, power and fortune. I was very excited when this started happening to me. Now, however, it quite often is more of a burden than something I look forward to.
Why? Well, for the most part, they are very predictable. Though I always try to go in with an open mind and no negative assumptions, invariably most of these people lose me after 15-20 minutes of listening to them talk about their favorite topic…themselves.
The Hidden Gem of Being Interest-ed
In my opinion, there are tremendous advantages to being interest-ed that most people seem to either overlook or completely ignore. You should see after this list that, as ironic as it may seem, the more interest-ed you are, the more interesting you become by default.
Let’s look at a few reasons why:
1) By being interest-ed, you stay in constant learning mode. There is a phrase (I’m slightly paraphrasing), the more that is revealed, the more that is required. The truth is, we can never master anything. No matter what the skill, we can always get better and no matter what the subject we can always learn more and the more I learn the more I realize how little I know.
Staying in constant learning mode will negate any sense of complacency and allow your skill or knowledge to be extremely impressive without even trying… The result? …. You will be infinitely more interesting.
2) The more you show interest in someone, the greater your ability becomes to network and grow, both personally and professionally. I have seen people spend entire conversations talking about themselves and then simply turn around and leave the person they were talking AT (as opposed to talking TO). When this happens there is a tragedy that occurs that the person never realizes unless it is pointed out. Let’s look at one such tragedy…
I witnessed a (one-sided) conversation where a ‘friend ‘ of mine was talking to someone about this amazing technology he had developed and his company was in the process of looking for investors to fund their early-stage growth. He finished his conversation and then walked away from the person.
A few minutes after the conversation, I was talking to my ‘friend’ and I asked him if he bothered to ask the person he was talking AT what he did for a living. My ‘friend’ said he hadn’t bothered to ask him so he asked me why I brought it up. I answered, “He invests in early stage technology companies.” … IDIOT.
3) Most people think that the key to selling is to show how great your product or service is and wow the client into the buy. Though that may be the end game, the way you sell a product or service is, not to show how interesting your product or service is, but to show INTEREST in the client, listen to what he or she is looking for and then reverse engineer your thinking into how your product and/or service will fill that need.
You never go in talking about how great your product or service is. You go in with questions, and showing interest, then you simply work backwards. That is the only way to develop the connection to turn the prospective client into an actual customer.
4) Showing interest and asking questions, plays into the ego of the other party. This is exactly what you want as it allows you to gather intelligence that you otherwise would not be able to gather if you are too busy talking about yourself.
The more interest you show in people, the more they will let their guards down and feel comfortable telling you more about themselves. As Gordon Gekko says, information is the single greatest commodity in the world. Personally, I disagree and believe it is the second most important commodity as I feel there is one thing infinitely more important. You can read about my thoughts on this here.
5) Being interested never gets old. People don’t get tired talking about themselves but they do get tired listening to you. No one kicked anyone out of a party or failed to invite anyone to a gathering because they were too interest-ed.
Let’s be clear, there is a difference between being pesky and nosy and being genuinely interested. How many times, on the other hand have you not wanted to invite someone because you are sick of them talking about themselves?
So be interesting by being interes-ted. Learn to shut-up and listen. God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason!
I encourage you to go out and take this knowledge today and turn yourself into the most interesting person in the world… and stay thirsty my friends! … and thanks Ted!