Have you ever experienced being around someone who continues to be “interesting”? They tell you all about their achievements, who they know or have seen lately, where they went and what they’ve been up to. This person is trying hard to engage your attention and curiosity by telling you ALL about themselves and is not really interested in anything you have to say.
Now consider being with a person who is genuinely interested in you. They ask questions about you and have their attention on you, not on themselves. That’s the person you will inevitably find interesting.
If you want to start a relationship with someone you need to put your attention on that person.
Let’s say you are meeting someone for the first time. Keep in mind that all the information you may want to know about this person is in their mind, all his/her interests, knowledge, problems, upsets, beliefs, opinions, solutions and ideas. Everything and anything you might want to know about this person in order to know if you would like to associate further with him/her, is sitting right there for the asking.
You may believe it best to let this person know all about yourself in the initial meeting so they would want to meet with you again. You may think to tell them all about yourself or your ideas, your opinions, your knowledge, etc. in hopes that they will find you interesting enough to want to associate with you again. So you basically run off at the mouth and are as “interesting” as you can be.
In most cases he/she is sitting there feeling trapped in a barrage of communication from you, and wondering how he’s going to extricate himself politely.
Your job in starting a relationship is to draw out data from the other person enough that you really begin to understand what they’re about. Your attention must be on the other person, their ideas and show interest in them. Do that well enough and that person will eventually tell you what you’ll need to know and do to begin a professional relationship.
If you feel a nervous wreck at even contemplating leading the conversation with questions to another person, sit down and make a list of words you can use to start, i.e. what, where, when, how, who, etc., these are all words to “find out” about another.
Now as a word of caution, don’t overuse the “WHY” question. In many cases, WHY may be confrontational, as it may put the person on the defensive. When starting out, you only want to collect data about this person, not have him/her defending their actions to you.
You can also try listing several possible areas of interest to ask about, work out a few of them on paper beforehand. You should practice ahead of time and not be held to notes during your meeting.
Relax and have fun…you may just make a new friend or business associate!