Russell Davies: How to be interesting

by Mathew on June 10, 2008

I don’t know Russell Davies, but you would think that he ought to have some good advice about being interesting, seeing as how he organized an entire conference called Interesting2007 — and from what I’ve read here and there, it was a smashing success (and a great name that I wish I had thought of). And sure enough, he does have some good advice in a post entitled How To Be Interesting, and the first point is: Be interested. In other words, in order to be interesting to others, you have to be interested in things, curious about things:

“You’ve got to find what’s interesting in everything, you’ve got to be good at noticing things, you’ve got to be good at listening. If you find people (and things) interesting, they’ll find you interesting.”

The second point is related to the first: Be ready to share. Someone who doesn’t want to share their passion or knowledge with others is inherently uninteresting — except perhaps as some kind of icon or idol who is worshipped from afar. In order to be interesting on a genuinely personal level, you have to be willing to share some of your knowledge and interests with others. But as Russell notes, this doesn’t mean talking about yourself endlessly:

“Being good at sharing is not the same as talking and talking and talking. It means you share your ideas, you let people play with them and you’re good at talking about them without having to talk about yourself.”

That’s it, really. Two steps. Lather, rinse and repeat. Russell has some handy tips on how to help stay interested in people and things — blogging regularly, keeping a journal, getting a hobby, and so on. But it really comes down to variations on those two steps.

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