(This is Part 6 in the Now You Can series. Read Part 5 here.)
My son and I were at a conference last spring, and the schedule included lunch. So we were with six other people we didn’t know. So far, so good. But before the chicken was even on our plates a guy appointed himself as the air traffic controller of the conversation at the table. He was well-dressed and extremely energetic. Over-the-top energetic. (I was bracing for joy-buzzer handshake. Or a timeshare pitch.) He took over the conversation, barely gave anyone else breathing room, and had a “me, too” for anything anyone said. (To be fair, he was part of the local committee that planned the conference, so maybe he felt the pressure to be “on”.) I suppose it worked for some people, but not for us. My son gave me the look, and before the meal was finished we excused ourselves and went for a nice walk along the river.
Pressure to Be Internally or Externally “On”
We all know what that’s like–to be around that guy. But here’s the important part: I’ve been that guy, and maybe you have been, too. Maybe we’ve felt the pressure, internally or externally, to be “on”. It happens. But if it happens habitually we undermine our influence. Others learn to back away, be on guard, or take a walk along the river. If you recognize the pattern, take a look at this tool.
Be Interested Before Seeking to be Interesting
It’s a visual to remind us that we always win if we seek to be Interested (in others) before seeking to be Interesting (to others). Get it? And there’s a boomerang in the middle to signal that we must beware of always bringing the conversation back to us. It happens a lot. Someone else is on crutches, and as soon as we find out why we tell our own crutches story.
Go three or more questions deep; take your time. It might even be fun to not tell your story. Save it til next time and watch your influence increase.