The IT Factor
Have you ever been to a party when sometimes walks into the room and you become mesmerized? No, not necessarily by physical beauty but by the way they carry themselves. It’s seen in the way the move, the way they act. They have that je ne sais quoi.
They have that certain something that draws us in.
And then there are people who are, uh, yawn, not so interesting.
Hey, we’re all a little boring at times! You can’t be on all the time, but if you need to make an impact in a social setting, you can’t be boring. Boring kills deals, skills, and it certainly kills dates.
Sometimes you need to kick it up a notch. And you can. You can impress and you can be the most interesting person in the room – or close to it.
I’m not an advocate for being pretentious or faking it until you make it. Phoniness is a sham perpetrated by those skilled at the art of deception. Being phony irritates more than it impresses. You can still be genuine and increase your influence by:
- Making the Mundane Memorable: How often does “normal” stand out? In world filled with jeans and t-shirts, be the man with the bowtie. Be the woman with the signature scarf. The way you present yourself tells a compelling story about who you are. Why not make the most of it? Sculpt a distinctive identity that makes people notice. And, don’t forget your non-verbal communication. What’s left unspoken is often the greatest memory of all.
- Being Multi-dimensional: I know a woman whose sole interest is her son’s soccer team. It’s her greatest love in life. Nothing wrong with that but that’s all she knows. She can’t carry on a conversation about anything that is not related to the soccer team. A single-dimension conversation grows stale quickly.
- Perfecting Your Storytelling: John Steinbeck said,“A great lasting story is about everyone or it will not last. The strange and foreign is not interesting ¾ only the deeply personal and familiar.”
Studies have suggested that stories are one of the most powerful ways to influence thoughts and behaviors. In his book, Tell to Win: Connect, Persuade, and Triumph with the Hidden Power of Story,Peter Guber tells us that humans are moved by emotion, not data, PowerPoint slides, or Excel spreadsheets. The best way to engage people is to tell them a story because stories can communicate a message in a manner that lives on in our minds.
4. Having Meaningful Conversations and Asking Thought-provoking Questions: That’s a given, you say! But how?
The most charming people are great listeners. They listen and then respond accordingly. They listen with the tenacity to understand and not with the intent to respond. And they know how to ask questions about what they’ve heard.
They may ask:
“What would have happened if you didn’t do that?”
“Is that always true?”
“What made you think of that?”
“What made you do that?”
Impressing people doesn’t start with talking about yourself. Making it “all about you” is a turnoff. People will remember how they felt when they were in your presence. If you let them talk instead of monopolizing the conversation, they will remember you long after you’ve left the room.
5. Living an Interesting Life: Sitting on the sofa and binge watching TV doesn’t do anything to drive your cool factor off the charts. You consciously choose how you experience the world. If you want to be interesting, act like you are interesting. If you experience and do the ordinary, you will espouse ordinary.
6. Having an Insatiable Thirst for Knowledge: Having an insatiable appetite for knowledge and building an eclectic education bares your mind to things outside your standard zones of curiosity.
Your challenge is to infuse your life with attention-grabbing stories that you’ve learned through your broadened experiences. The more insights you can offer, the more interesting you become.
7. Stop Hanging Out With Boring People: The friends you spend the most time with will affect your behavior because boring begets boring. Is it time to seek out additional friends? Take an art class, a wine class, join a group, and expand your network with people who add expertise, value, positivity (no drama) to your life.
8. Travelling: You don’t have to zip-line over the rainforest in Belize, sit outside a café in Paris, or navigate the markets in India to experience the excitement of travel and adventure. You can immerse yourself in new food, language, and culture in your own country and maybe in even your own town.
9. Offering a New Perspective: My way or the highway doesn’t cut it but having the guts to offer a different perspective on an issue may challenge somebody to a new way of thinking. This is all the more reason to have an eclectic education! Never be rude or disrespectful when offering your suggestions, but rather share something interesting that you recently learned and how it impacted your life positively.
You have an A-Game. Find it. Use it. And, make the mundane memorable.
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Johnston Osburn is a Career and Life Coach who helps people turn dreams into realities. After years as a Global Talent Acquisition Professional, she realized how frequently people limit themselves because they lack belief in their abilities. They are afraid to dream, let alone dream big. [...]