Interested versus Interesting – More thoughts
I got into a conversation with one of my clients today about the whole “interested or interesting” thing (you may remember that I blogged a couple of weeks ago on the subject – Aim to be interested rather than interesting).
Two things came out of the conversation which I thought were really worth sharing.
Firstly, if you want other people to even start to be interested in your stuff you absolutely have to be interested in them first. Read How to win friends and influence people by Dale Carnegie and Jab, Jab, Jab Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk as they explain it much better than I ever can but my thoughts go a bit like this.
If you’re interested in other people, then those people are noticing you. If you’re constantly interested in their stuff – which in the networking world means taking a real, genuine interest in their business and looking for referrals for them, then you have a much greater chance of them wanting to return the favour at some point (notice please that I am really clear that you have a chance of them returning the favour, it isn’t a right).
Part of returning the favour, when you blog or put other content out there, is that those people are much more likely to take the time to read and share your stuff. Those people are much more likely to be interested in someone who has shown a genuine interest in them.
Secondly, you can be interesting by being interested first. If you want to produce a product or service that really helps people, that there is a real desire for, then starting by listening to what people really want is a necessity. Networking and social media gives you SUCH a huge opportunity to listen, and the even bigger opportunity is that most people won’t bother. By listening, you can produce not just content, but products or services that people really want, and by listening, when you have that content, product or service ready to go, you have a ready made audience for it.
I’ve probably changed my thinking a little bit as a result of this conversation. Interested and Interesting aren’t mutually exclusive. By being interested first, it is possible to be even more interesting to that audience later.