Unfortunately, we can’t all be The Most Interesting Man in the World, as featured in the Dos Equis commercials. Unlike him, we are not known for curing narcolepsy simply by walking into a room; we have not rescued an angry bear from a trap; sadly, the police do not question us simply because we are so interesting. Surely you don’t always have epic conversations – but when you do, make sure you opt to be interesting. Here are some tips from the Gavel to help you do so.
1. Keep it short and sweet.
Embrace the fact that you are not endlessly fascinating. Sorry – you could be telling a great story, but skip the unnecessary background info. As most people know, it’s not really enjoyable to listen to a single person talk for five minutes straight in a conversation. Unless you consider yourself in the ring with the likes of Aron Ralston (127 Hours anyone?) or Steve Jobs, get to the point.
2. Shut up and listen.
Much of our lives revolve around showing ourselves off, whether it’s bolstering our accomplishments in resumes or posting endless weekend photos to Facbook. We enjoy talking about ourselves, which isn’t always bad. Nonetheless, interesting people are also those who listen. You will come off as better company when you stop telling your story and let someone else tell theirs. Ask questions, and be engaging. If you don’t know about the topic on hand, ask about it. If you do, bond over similarities. Then pat yourself on the back for being fascinating.
3. Remember that time…
Procrastinators may disagree, but a lot of the best work is done with adequate preparation. Repetition is boring, especially for your close friends who have heard your life story. When meeting new people, however, having an arsenal of three entertaining stories you’ve already tested in previous conversations makes you seem well versed, smart and captivating.
4. Lights, camera, passion!
Being interesting is not just about what you’re talking about, but how you’re talking about it. Have you ever noticed how famous actors are typically good at keeping their audience engaged? It is most likely because a. they live exciting lives, and b. they are charismatic and expressive. Conversation is like a performance: without expression, the conversation or story loses half of its meaning. Your hand gestures, facial expressions, body positions, tone of voice and general demeanor are crucial. These nonverbal cues allow you to do more than merely relay a story. The most engaging people make conversation an experience, not just a message.
5. Find your setting.
How you are portrayed is also influenced by where your interactions take place. Is the environment around us stimulating? Busy? Quiet? Messy? Bright? Think of the brutal New England weather; How many students seem happier, less stressed and more excited when the sun is shining and sundresses emerge? The answer, at least here at Boston College, is: a lot. Surround yourself with positivity and diversity, because it does affect your conversation.
6. Live openly.
It is overwhelmingly obvious that living an interesting life increases your potential for being an interesting person—but how can you do so? You don’t necessarily have to trek across the globe or become a thrill seeker. You can enhance your personality by engaging yourself with what is already around you. Read more books for pleasure. Burst the BC bubble more often. Challenge yourself to talk to everyone. Get over feeling awkward and stop doing the BC lookaway. As independent as you believe yourself to be, who you spend time with alters who you become.