Aim to be interested rather than interesting

How to win friends and influence people

If you’ve ever heard me speak you will know that I mention Dale Carnegie’s book “How to win friends and influence people” quite a lot. I refer to it as “the best book on social media which was ever written in 1937”.

I’ve misquoted the title of this blog as what Dale Carnegie actually said was:

Dale Carnegie Quote

What I’ve noticed is that in business networking and social media, too many people focus so hard on being interesting that they aren’t interested.

So here’s a thought.

You go to business networking events for the sake of your own business? That’s why you joined a networking organisation, that’s why you get up at silly o’clock and drive for half an hour to have breakfast with people. You do that because you want to grow your business.

And yet often people forget that in what they say at networking events and how they follow up after the events.

If you accept that everyone is there for the sake of their business, then why not spend more time being interested in their stuff, than trying to make your stuff interesting to them? After all, you’ve already got the wind behind you – rather than struggling to be interesting, you’ll be talking about a subject the other guy is already interested in. His stuff.

Someone asked me recently about following up after events and said that he always added people to a mailing list and then sent them “really interesting” content. But nobody read the Emails. Nobody ever got back to him.

You can’t force other people to be interested, but by being interested in their stuff you will a) win more friends as Mr Carnegie so beautifully explained and b) you will learn along the way exactly WHAT they are interested in, so you can craft your approach to fit that.

Business networking and social gives you so many opportunities to learn what the people around you are interested in. Just take time to listen before you broadcast.

PS – I recommend Dale Carnegie’s book and three other books you should read if you’re serious about being successful at networking in my article – “Four books every networker should read”

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