When you’re making conversation with someone, the more interested you can be in what they’re saying, the better. Sometimes it can be hard to muster interest. If you need a little motivation, turn it into a detective game.
Photo by Harry Potts.
As author Mark Goulston points out, many of us treat conversations like a back-and-forth where we each get a turn to say something the other person doesn’t care about. This just wastes time. This focus on what to say when it’s our turn to speak can often turn those conversations into an echo chamber. Instead, try to discover as much as you can about the other person:
How do you master the skill of being interested — and be sincere when you do it? The first key is to stop thinking of conversation as a tennis match. (He scored a point. Now I need to score a point.) Instead, think of it as a detective game, in which your goal is to learn as much about the other person as you can. Go into the conversation knowing that there is something very interesting about the person, and be determined to discover it.
Of course, you probably shouldn’t go all Sherlock Holmes on them, pointing out the dust on their shoe and accusing them of infidelity with a coal miner. However, a good detective would learn as much as possible without forcing the situation into a specific template.
Chances are that the person you’re talking to has something interesting in their life. Make it a game to find it and you’ll struggle a lot less to seem interested.
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