How to Get Genuinely Interested in Others

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Terry Brock, a professional speaker and marketing coach, says that too many people today have “I” trouble. That is, they are more interested in themselves, than other people. When they talk, it is usually, “I this”, or “I that.” Rarely is it about the other person. Yet, as we all know, most people think about themselves most of the time. So, if we really want to build good relations with others, we must develop the ability to become genuinely interested in them.

Dale Carnegie once said that, “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” He went on to say that, “When you see a group photograph that you are in, whose picture do you look for first?” If you answered your own, you are thinking like any normal person. It is normal behavior that we all are interested in ourselves first, and other people second. However, if you want to build trust and rapport with others, you must start making them the focus of your conversation.

Most people can tell if you are genuinely interested in them. What sometimes passes as interest in others, is really only an insincere attempt to get them interested in you. The writer and psychologist, Alfred Adler, wrote, “It is the individual who is not interested in his fellow men who has the greatest difficulties in life and provides the greatest injury to others. It is from among such individuals that all human failures spring.”

When you stop to think for a moment, and when you make an earnest attempt to get to know others, it can lead to a fascinating conversation. Some of my favorite questions to ask people I have just met include: What part of the country did you grow up? Where did you go to high school? What path did you take to get you to where you are today? What made you decide to get into the work you are now doing?

These questions can open up a whole world of learning fascinating information about the people you meet. Try these out, plus some of your own questions the next time you are with a stranger, and watch how easy it is to become genuinely interested in them.


Tom Borg is president of Tom Borg Consulting, LLC. He is a business consultant, speaker, coach and author. He helps companies and organization become more profitable by increasing their value and lowering their costs through the professional development of their managers and employees. Please see more of his blogs at manufacturingworkersblog.com and view additional job postings at Nexxt.
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