(This is Part 7 in The Liberating Leader at Work series. Read Part 6 here.)
It’s our connectivity with others that determines so much about our ability to grow in our influence. Think about it; someone can be outstanding in their hard skills and have all of the credentials to prove it, but if they are limited in their Emotional Intelligence, their influence will only go so far.
Interested or Interesting?
In GiANT, we use a number of visual tools, along with simple language, to help us grow in our EQ. Here’s one called “Interested or Interesting?” You already see where this is going. In human interactions, we have a choice to enter a conversation as one who is interested in others or as one who wants to appear interesting. Both matter, but our caution is to be careful to play the “interesting” element carefully. We have all been in situations where others went on and on and on about themselves, and it put us at a disadvantage. No matter what we said, they had a better story which boomeranged it all back to them.
The Boomerang Effect
Communicators call that “auto-biographical listening”, and when others routinely do it to us, it undermines their influence. We call it “the boomerang effect”. We get tired of their elbowing to dominate a conversation.
Spoiler alert: Sometimes we are the perpetrators of auto-biographical listening. As comedian Brian Regan playfully reminds us, if someone else has a “two wisdom tooth story”, we’re tempted to immediately tell our “four wisdom tooth story” before they have a chance to finish. If we choose to be interesting before being interested, we undermine our influence.
Doesn’t that mean you won’t get your story out? Actually, probably not. If someone else gets to tell their story at your first meeting, you can almost always guarantee you’ll have another opportunity or a second meeting, where your story becomes more of the focus. Either way, you’re growing.