Tell Me More about That
/ Author: Andre van Heerden
/ Categories: Blogs, Newsletters, National /
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Tell Me More about That

If we really want to connect with or influence someone, we need to show an interest in them and what they believe and do

By André van Heerden, Communications Director

The other day I was in a grocery store and noticed a little girl, probably around five years old, pushing a kid-sized grocery cart behind her mother. The girl was very visibly loving the experience and was excited about stopping to look at groceries, putting items in her cart, and wheeling her treasures around.

She was making grocery shopping interesting because she was so interested in it!

Poet and artist William Morris said “the true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life.”

The smile on the little girl’s face—and then mine—certainly proves this point.

I think the same thing can be said about work and people. The more you take an interest in them the more interesting they become. And many times, that interest becomes reciprocal.

People who take a deeper interest in what they’re working on usually find ways of appreciating it—and improving it. 

Dale Carnegie, author of the best-selling book How to Win Friends and Influence People wrote, “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get people interested in you.”

Think about going to a party and meeting new people. The person that you likely found the most enjoyable to talk with likely wasn’t the person who never stopped talking. It was probably the person who listened the most and therefore you felt a connection to.

Author Jack Gardner wrote, “We think we are being interesting to others when we are being interesting to ourselves.”

And we all like to be thought of as interesting! So, if we really want to connect with or influence someone, we need to show an interest in them and what they believe and do.

One easy way to do this is instead of immediately telling someone about your opinions after they’ve shared theirs is to ask follow-up questions. Make a deeper connection by showing interest in what they have to say. You don’t have to agree, just get a better understanding.

Henning Hansmann, a special-needs educator and author, wrote, “Interest and enthusiasm are the wellspring of continually evolving community life: they create bonds which unite us whether we are young or old, nearby or far from each other; they allow human warmth and love to be the formative forces in personal and community life and striving.”

Entrepreneur and journalist Shane Snow writes a great deal about how to be an effective worker and influence others. He sums it all up well when he says “most of us LOVE when we’re asked to talk more about ourselves or what we think anyway. So pass those five words along! Tell me more about that. . . .”

The next time I’m at a party, or at work, I want to come away with knowing a great deal more about those I meet rather than revisiting what I already know about myself. In doing so, I’m likely to make friends and maybe influence them. 

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