I think the secret to capturing the attention of others and engaging them in personal interaction is to first be Interesting and then to be Interested.
If you’re Interesting, you’ll get some attention.
You can’t predict how long that attention will be (Andy Warhol predicted it would be 15 minutes), but you’ll get some sort of attention. There’s no guarantee that the attention will even be positive attention, but your uniqueness — whatever it is that makes you stand out — will gain you some consideration (however temporary it might be).
If you’re Interested, you’ll hold their attention.
You can capitalize on (and maintain) the attention you acquired by by shifting from Interest-ing to Interest-ed.
Instead of basking in the glow of the attention of others, shine your light on on those others and ask questions to uncover the things that are interesting about them.
- Ask about their favorite place to visit and what you should see if you travel there.
- Ask about their career and how they decided to follow that path.
- Ask about their family and where they’re from.
- Ask about the latest book they read, movie they saw, or podcast they listened to.
- Ask about their hobbies and the business they’d start out of their garage if they had the time.
Being interested in other people is easy.
- Maintain eye contact.
- Practice active listening skills.
- Ask them to continue by asking “…and then what happened?”
- Take notes when appropriate.
Be as interested in other people as your dog is interested in you when you’re holding a cheeseburger.