If you have read my book The Power of Influence or heard me speak you have heard me share the idea that we should focus on being interested, not interesting. Influence comes from making it about them and when we are genuinely interested in someone else they will love us for it.
My friend John Milton Fogg (Author of The Greatest Networker in The World) told me a story the other day that illustrates this idea.
Years ago the Editor of Psychology Today was writing a book. As part of his research, he purchased a first class ticket from New York City to Los Angeles.
He knew he would sit next to someone on this six hour flight and his task was to only ask questions. He wouldn’t volunteer any information about himself, instead he would do his best to make the conversation all about them.
When they landed in LA, he had a research assistant interview the person he sat next to on the flight.
Two interesting things came out of the interview.
1. The person didn’t know the editors name, which meant that he did a good job of making it about them.
2. The person said he was the single most interesting man he had ever met in his life.
This editor, who divulged no information, left a lasting impression. He asked questions, listened and showed genuine interest.
If all of use would focus on being a little more interested and stop worrying about trying to come across as interesting – we would be amazed at the impression we would make.