How to be Interesting (And Keep a Conversation Going)
How to be interesting and keep a conversation going? How do we do this? Again, this is one of those questions that I do get asked a lot. How can I be interesting and engaging innately? What is it about me that I can change to do that? How can I be so interesting that people won't wanna stop talking to me? How can I be more captivating, et cetera. Ultimately, I find that it's a bit of, they're asking a bit of the wrong question. They're saying that I'm a boring person, what can I do? I don't think you're boring. I don't think anyone's boring. But they have fallen into boring and vanilla speech and thought patterns. When someone's boring, here's basically what happens. They're not expressing opinions, because they feel too afraid to take a stand. They're not sharing about themselves. And they stay on boring topics, basically. So, if you're not sharing opinions, if you're not sharing details, and you're not changing to good topics, I have no idea what you're talking about. Yeah, that is, ...
maybe boring. But I think articulating this and knowing what's going on and diagnosing it is the important part. So, I think we've heard some of this today is just a lot, saying a lot without saying anything at all. Just because you don't, you don't feel like you wanna take a stand. And remember the ripple effect, right? The ripple effect being (sighs) I expect to be expected, or accepted. I expect to be liked. I expect to do well. I expect to, you know, give this presentation well. These are all things I take for granted, right. So, how do you start the path to becoming more interesting? Number one is about assuming non-judgment. This is where you talk about having the courage, confidence to talk about interesting topics. And to know that people aren't judging you, people aren't thinking, man, it's so stupid that you just brought that up. I can't believe you're taking about that. That just doesn't happen. It sounds like a valid fear, but it doesn't happen. What do you talk about with your friends? Do we talk about these boring, vanilla topics with our friends? I don't think so. Not always. So, that's one part of it. The second part, yes, it's true. You need to form and solicit opinions. Don't be that person who speaks but says absolutely nothing. Have an opinion on where you wanna eat dinner. Things like that. Even just as simple as that. Because otherwise, you're making it difficult for the other person. When someone's asks you a question, don't say, "Yeah, you know, I wasn't sure about how to go about that." It could've been this, it could've been that. And you keep going. You've said a lot without saying anything. So, you need to form and solicit opinions. What do you do that on? First step is kinda the low hanging fruit. Current event and pop culture. You probably need to consume more content if you feel like you're boring. If you feel like your conversations aren't going anywhere, you probably need to know what's going on that you can talk about. These everyday topics. And here's a little tip. When you know these current events and these pop culture events, form your opinion and then find an obscure fact about it. And that actually makes you look like you know more than the normal. That makes you look like you actually have researched it a little bit. So, that's the first way to form, or that's the first thing to form and solicit opinions on. What else? Interpersonal situations, dilemmas, values, stances. Whether they be positive or negative. Have an opinion. Know what you feel about it and then express it. Preferences. What you like and dislike. Dinner. So, this is all really along the same theme of just make a stand, right. Say what you like, say what you're about, and then you can have an interesting conversation about that. Or you can talk about that. You can engage on that. Versus saying a lot without saying anything at all. Which is a large part of the problem. Here's another one. Hypotheticals. First step is to think about hypotheticals, but second part is have an opinion on them. What would you do if? Would you rather? What if this happens? This is something you can kind of go through in your head on a day-to-day basis. To practice, to think of. And then form your opinion on it. Once you form your opinion, you think, oh, interesting, where does that lead me to? And what does that say about me? So, hypotheticals are something that you definitely can think about having opinions on. The final step on starting the path to becoming more interesting. Just play, it's self-amusement. We talked about the reasons that people engaged with others in social conversations. Having fun, primary reason to do it. Pleasure is the primary reason to do it. What are we doing if we're not, right? So, now I'm gonna go into a few ways that you can just kind of play with other people. You can get out of these interview mode conversations, and just have another conversation about the other person. And on some interesting topics. So, a personality question is the first way to do this. It's where you pose an opinion-based question, and project what the answer says about that person. You don't take it seriously. And it's basically a look into their inner workings. Because again, it doesn't matter if you're right or wrong. You're making an assertion in a funny, kind, gentle way. And then you go from there. So, you know, for example, you ask someone, "Do you like cats or dogs?" They answer, "Dogs." Dog person. So you, you like the attention and adoration? You like getting up early in the morning? You like having a jogging partner? So, you'll force them to answer in a way that you would never have gotten to if you didn't have this question posed. Other ways of doing this, you know for example, what kind of vacation do you like? Do you like to relax? Do you like to keep busy? Are you a morning or night person? So, things like that, where you can extrapolate, right. What your answer, what your answer is, may or may not say something about you. It probably doesn't. But for the sake of conversation, it's a good direction to go in. Instigation. This is another way we are just playing with other people. Just playing, that's all we're doing. Just like kids. It's a comical overreaction of what someone says. "You like Nickelback? I'm gonna take a shower. Don't feel good about that." That's what we're doing. And you can do that with just about anything. Maybe you can shove this into the witty banter lesson. But all we're doing here is we're playing with other people. We're having fun. Because that's the purpose most people seek us out. Playful answers to boring questions. And the best part about this, is you can prepare these beforehand. A lot of this stuff is stuff that you can prepare beforehand, to make conversation predictable for us. And that is so important because if you feel like conversation isn't predictable, you feel like you need to think on your feet, there's a chance for you to fail. That chance for you to fail becomes huge. So, playful answer to a boring question, prepare that beforehand. "Where are you from?" "Well, I was born in the 4th most obese city in the country. Coming for you, number three." That's a much better way to answer that question than, well, for me, personally, Pennsylvania. Downtown. So, that's a way to give the conversation direction. And now, again, it's not the literal answer to the question. Kind of is, but it kind of isn't. Here's another one. A playful introduction. This is when you're introducing people. "Walt, this is Jessie, who's best known for Lady Gaga karaoke renditions." And this is when you're making introductions between two people and you're just playing. You don't have to be literal. You don't have to take it seriously. I mean, if you want to think about it seriously, that is a fact that he might be known for Lady Gaga. So, that's fine. But you're doing this to give the conversation a direction. Some flavor. And let's think about the direction that follows after this introduction is made. You say, "Oh, my gosh, really?" And then he just goes and talks about Lady Gaga, talks about karaoke. It skips the "Hello, sir, where are you from? How are you? How about you?" So, that's the point of all this with the introductions.