“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.” Albert Einstein
We are curious creatures by nature. If we weren’t curious we wouldn’t investigate, learn and grow. Curiosity and fascination go hand in hand. Imagine wide eyes filled with wonder and fascination about all the amazing people, places and things on this planet.
Being curious takes the attention away from ourselves and shifts it outwards. It can flip the focus from you to another person, object or message. Energy flows outwards rather than inwards.
That’s why developing curiosity is an excellent approach for introverted networkers.
Many highly intelligent people are terrified of networking due to simply putting too much pressure on themselves. Instead of being concerned with how we come across at a networking event, what if we were instead simply curious about those we meet?
Here are some proven ways to kickstart your curiosity:
- Fake it until you make it
Learning to be curious is as much a lesson in presence and attention as it is curiosity. Challenge yourself to be fully present in every conversation, no matter what, and your curiosity quotient will soar. When we become fully present and give ourselves over to the conversation, we hear things that we would normally miss.
I came across a quote recently that said most people listen with intent to reply rather then the intent to understand. In today’s busy world, and after having millions of conversations, I have to agree. This was such a timely reminder that I have put monthly reminders into my calendar to be present and curious in every conversation!
Having trouble? Fake it until it becomes a habit. Pretend to be interested until you really do start to be intrigued about what drives others and what empowers them to do what they do.
- Ask questions
Nobody will tell you their life story at the outset. But bring out the story and you may uncover a side of this person you could never have imagined. Ask questions that showcase the other person and allow them to shine. Ask them about their role and what led them to that line of work. Ask them how they feel and think about a subject rather than how they are and what they did on the weekend.
- Go deeper
Anyone who has a teenage child will understand the conversation destroying impact of mono-syllabic answers. The trick for them, and also for unimaginitive responses in the networking sphere, is to go deeper: investigate and probe for feelings rather than simple answers. Use the information you have gained in your initial questioning and take it further. Build a story about this person that will truly enable you to help them get to where they want to go. Who knows, you may meet someone in the future who could be the catalyst for the most incredible career opportunity of their lives. How would that make you feel?
- Track the story
Keep in touch with those you meet and track the story you uncovered in your first meeting. This is not an invitation to stalk your new friend, rather a suggestion to record notes about your meetings to enable effective conversation starters later. You may not need to record reminders but if you have trouble remembering details then a quick memory jog of important notes could be all you require to make your last meeting feel like just yesterday.
- Share the celebration
Enjoy your connections and enjoy congratulating them on their wins. Even something as simple as wishing ‘happy birthday’ in a phone call can make your contact feel like you care. Enjoy your friendships and the unique contribution each person makes to your life, even if it’s just a chat on the phone every now and again.
Everyone is special and if you are truly curious about each person you meet then you will see that sooner than you think.