Well hello there from isolation.
Guess what? I made a new video for you. And I’m really proud of it. And I think you’re going to love it.
It’s about how to be a more interesting and engaging person in any interaction with someone through 5 quick principles you can instantly apply. And since most of us are having long-distance conversations with everyone right now, the ability to talk effectively has become utterly essential.
Can’t wait to see what you think…
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How can you be a more interesting person? I was recently reading a book called On Writing Well by William Zinsser that I found absolutely fascinating and I think is a great read for anyone, whether you’re a writer, an aspiring writer, or simply someone who wants to take these principles of great writing and apply them to your life. It was once said to me that any book on writing is actually a book about life and I think that there’s a lot of truth to that.
Now clearly, it would be an insult to the writing profession to assume that we can suddenly just be a great writer by applying certain principles. It takes an immense amount of hard work over time to be a great writer but there are principles that are mentioned in this book that I believe all of us can adopt today that would not only make us a more interesting writer but would make us a more interesting speaker, a more interesting partner, a more interesting person at a dinner table, that if we applied them, our charisma would instantly be lifted.
So I want to take you through five of these, one by one. One of them comes from me that I’ve added into the mix but four of them have been inspired by Zinsser in his book.
Number one: Never be afraid to write about a place that you think has had every last word written about it. It’s not your place until you write about it.
Now I think, in life in general, a lot of us are afraid to talk on certain subjects. We’re afraid to talk about certain things, whether it’s relationships, or places we’ve been, or stories we’ve got in our lives, because we’re almost afraid that we don’t have anything to add to the conversation. If I took that view that I could never make a video about something that’s been said before, I would never make a video. What hasn’t been said about heartbreak or love or romance over the last couple of thousand years? Even if you say, “Well yeah, but dating apps are new.” What hasn’t been said about dating apps?
The point is, it’s not my delivery on a subject until I’ve delivered it. So if you’re a dinner table and something comes up that you feel like is a kind of tired subject or people talk about it all the time, remember you haven’t had your input into it and you may have your angle, your unique way of looking at that thing or simply your truth about that thing and that is worth something.
Number two: There is nothing more interesting than the truth.
So many of us tried to find the wittiest, cleverest way of saying something, instead of just saying the thing that’s true for us. Whenever anyone speaks or writes or makes a video or tells a story at a dinner table, there’s often a tremendous amount of ego involved and the ego element can actually get in the way of the truth because we’re so busy worrying about how we say something that we don’t stop to think, “Is this really true for me? Am I actually being vulnerable here? Because if I am, I’m probably going to make a connection.”
In the book, Zinsser talks about how, when editing other people’s writing, he’ll often find those first few paragraphs that they write are so concerned with their grandiosity or their ornate language or being interesting in some storytelling way, that it takes three or four paragraphs before he gets to anything real. Interestingly, Zinsser says, “What I’m always looking for as an editor is a sentence that says something like, ‘I’ll never forget the day when I…'”
He says, “At that point, I think, ‘Aha, a person.’” Isn’t that everything, by the way? In conversation when we’re talking to someone – on a date, when we’re speaking to a family member we don’t see very often and therefore we don’t feel like we really know that well anymore, when we’re seeing a friend, or meeting someone for the first time – the moment of connection is always that moment where they say something that’s real and you go, “Aha, a person.”
Number three: Go with your interests. Zinsser writes, “No area of life is stupid to someone who takes it seriously. No subject is too specialized or too quirky if you make an honest connection with it when you write about it.”
I have found this to be true of so many things in life, not just in my personal experience that what I talk passionately about, people tend to connect with me on – and, of course, if I’m interested in it, it’s much easier for me to get passionate about it in the first place – but I’ve also noticed it about the way I received subjects from other people.
I’ve heard people talk about wine, not a subject that I’m inherently fascinated by, but when they talk about it, I find myself interested in wine. I think, “Oh, I would like to take that wine tasting trip in Napa and try that different red and look at the differences between them.” When someone talks to me about something that they are interested in and they get passionate about it, they are able to instill that… It’s like they can infect me with that passion.
And that’s a power we all have of transference. What is persuasion but a transference of energy? I can persuade you to see the value or the interest or the intrigue or the fascination in a subject if I myself get passionate about it, but it’s far easier to get passionate about something when we don’t have to generate interest because that interest is inherent to who we are.
Number four: Your weaknesses are your strengths. This is something I’m throwing into the mix along with the very profound advice that Zinsser is giving us.
I have found over the years that we massively undervalue our weaknesses as a source of likability and a source of connection and relatability. I look at my life this year and I’ve been enjoying having these conversations – on podcasts this year, interviews with you guys here on these videos – that are more vulnerable, that are more open. And not that I wasn’t myself before, but I have just decided to show more of myself this year. I guess because I’m feeling a little braver, a little more comfortable in who I am, and more excited about the impact that sharing more of myself can have in helping other people.
The comments that I’ve received as a result of that this year have been amongst the most beautiful comments I’ve ever received in my 12 years of doing this. And that has been as a result of sharing more of myself, which has, in no small part, involved sharing more of my weaknesses. Your weaknesses are a window through which other people can look and say, “Aha, a person.”
Number five: Approach situations where you feel out of your depth with a sincere curiosity.
Zinsser refers to a situation where he was going to write about baseball. And although he’d been a baseball fan in his lifetime, he had never been a sports writer, and so he felt very much out of his depth in going and talking to the kinds of people that he was talking to who knew the game inside out and may not take him seriously.
He wrote, “Strictly, I had no credentials. Any of the men I approached with my notebook – managers, coaches, players umpires, scouts – could have asked, ‘what else have you written about baseball?’ But nobody did.” This is the interesting part. They didn’t because I had another kind of credential: sincerity. It was obvious to those men that I really wanted to know how they did their work. Remember this when you enter new territory and need a shot of confidence: your best credential is yourself.”
I think that there is something extremely beautiful about that, that there are many conversations in which we find ourselves very much out of our depth, out of our element. We find ourselves in that awkward situation where somebody is telling us about their career or a project they’re working on that we know nothing about, and instead of expressing a sincere curiosity about that thing, we nod along like everything they’ve just said makes sense. And that’s a barrier to connection because people feel a disconnect. When we just nod along, they may not consciously be able to articulate it but they can feel that there’s a lack of connection there, that there’s sort of a hollow acknowledgement of something they just said that doesn’t represent real understanding, especially because there’s not a follow-up question that comes that shows that you’ve understood.
So instead what we should do is be more vulnerable, be more open about what we don’t know but make up for what we don’t know by genuine, sincere curiosity that makes the other person feel important, feel acknowledged, and feel complimented by our interest.
What I love about all of these is that they’re principles you can apply today. Whether it’s in your business, your love life, your social life, you can start doing them now. Whatever age you are, whatever gender you are, if you watch my videos and you want to have more impact and presence in life, this is relevant to you.
If you enjoyed the way that Zinsser breaks down how to be more interesting in writing and you like that kind of very principle-centered approach to how to do it, I have something from my own life that is going to make a huge difference for you. It’s literally a free training where my brother took an interview I did on radio, looked at the first five minutes, and asked the question, “Why is it Matt was able to have impact in those first five minutes? What was he doing?”
So in this free training, you get to listen to the radio interview, these five minutes, and then look at Stephen’s play-by-play analysis of what I was doing in that room in those five minutes. Once you hear this, you’ll have a completely different set of principles and techniques that you can apply to the first five minutes of any interaction you ever have, whether it’s in business, your love life, or your social life.I think you’re going to love this. It’s super practical. It’s at this link. It’s called the First Five Minutes. I’m looking forward to your feedback. I’ll see you there. As I said, check it out at this link.
14 Replies to “5 Ways to Be More Interesting Immediately”
Matthew, I noticed too that you have become more vulnerable with us recently and sharing more examples from you life- it does help remember the concepts you present better and is very healing, uplifting, encouraging. Thank you. You constantly work so hard on yourself and your life and it reminds me and motivates to do the same with mine. You are the lover of life. I want to become one as well rather than being scared and overwhelmed by it.
This was the biggest gift of all.
I’ve already downloaded the book.
I am well educated, more then most, less then many others.
Writing has always been my biggest enemy, yet has been my ultimate companion. I recognized young that I struggled with it, so I journaled from grade 5 till today. Cause I loved to write, but rarely did people understand what I had written. Even today when I texted I have good days and bad. I am self employed in health care. I have wait lists of patients …. referred based. I don’t advertise, no social media. I did this , cause I would be to embarrassed to have to write blogs, advertise what I do or have to communicate in writing. Transferring who I am into words, or even a picture on paper, on screen, that’s a vulnerability.
Your webinar the other day I commented how that was really the first time I felt like you, dug deep and displayed Matt. It wasn’t Matt being real. Your always real and authentic, but felt like you actually spoke with your true voice. I seen it more with impact serious you offered and it’s by far my favourite product.
So thank you for this today. You offered something I have overlooked and often sweep under the rug time and time again.
A well articulate text goes a long way, an intriguing email always is enjoyed and entertaining company always well always has company.
Thank you for sharing your art of communication.
Hi,make sence.Good to see you again.Thanks for your powerful messages.wish you a holy Easter. God bless you and keep safe.
It’s so awesome that you can translate a book into key points to helps us all be better people.
Oh my!! Matthew.. I could listen to you talk all day every day..lol. You are the smartest man I have been following your advice a year now.. being vulnerable yes I see where it is everything. Makes one instantly more likable and genuine. I think a lot of guys are scared of women being this way though sometimes. Can you please visit Canada someday when the world stops spinning with all the scary uncertainty these days.. find me in NL. lol You are truly an inspiring and gifted guy that is for fact. Thank you for being you and helping us all. Happy Easter to you and your family… hope your Easter brings sunshine and some joy into your world.
I watched your five minute interview and read the explanation your brother gave. It is awesome that you were able to master these 6 skills so well. If you were so shy before these skills how do you keep yourself from exploding when you use them? I have never been shy so just curious. Thanks for sharing this information. It should help me a ton I my future endeavors.
Mathew idont even need to watch your video. I have watched u with crows of woman u take control of a room even when I fumbled u very quickly did a recovery and still was able to take control of the situation. U r quick and witty. And obviously know how to control Any situation u r put in. I admire that. I am shy when I am around people I do not know. When I am in my element I can be just like u and control a room. I am 57 and have always had that problem. I have tried everything from A toZ to try and get over that shyness when I am not in my element. And do not know any one. So that makes me come across as not approachable and some what I have been told conceited. When that is not the case at all. I also get tongue tied. I crash and burn trust me. What is your input on this?
When I got to ‘number four’ I felt like I was snuggled in bed with my ‘mamaw’ lovingly telling me that when I look in the mirror all I focus on are my faults and how to cover them up.
Because of life’s gut punches over the years, I have become MORE introverted, harder to read I’m sure. In conversations I tend to rush through my input because it couldn’t possibly be anything but boring. When I write or lead music (music teacher)the passion is there. But face people one on one and up pops that mirror…the one that is magnified 7 times!
I loved this principle because it spoke to me by saying the flawed things in life are more valuable and DEFINITELY more interesting. Thank you…truly.
Your amazing! Thank you for all you do! We need more videos at this time. I’ve met someone via zoom meeting from a social group I can’t currently attend to lol. Anyway got it the courage and became FB friends and started a little small talk. How can I keep this conversation going? I know I may eventually see him at an event but I’d like to keep talking to him. Wishing you a blessed Easter
Hey Matthew I would be in category #4 My weakness are my strengths. I take this in when I mix music as a DJ. I was shy at first, but started to get better as I practice. I don’t believe in perfect, I do believe in better.
You are always helping others. What about YOU? Are you OK? How are you doing? I watched your recent webinar (I was not able to attend because of work), but I watched it afterward. I hope you, your family and the MH team are safe & healthy. I noticed that you were quite emotional when talking about your family/mother. I could see you were choked up when speaking about them being in England and not able to see them because of this COVID situation. Hang in there, hopefully, soon things will be better so you are able to see them. That is my wish for you. Matt, would you like a new friend? I’m here for you, just let me know.
I also noticed that you opened up more and talked about yourself and your feelings. At one point, you started to talk at a much faster pace because I think you wanted to share so much in the webinar, and it actually gave you comfort sharing this with us. We are all human and not perfect, but that is perfectly OK. We don’t need to be. That means you don’t need to be perfect , either. Hugs!
Commenting about the 5 ways to be more interesting video… I agree with you about the transference of passion. The energy of passion of personal interest can definitely transfer to another person, even if it’s not a subject the receiving person was passionate about before that. Their excitement, their passion can touch you and can inspire passion within you. At that moment, you connect with the person (or group) and it has an impact because their passion/happiness caused you to feel as excited, happy,or connected as they are. Therefore, the experience draws you closer to that person, such as in a friendship, in a relationship, as inspiration, or to motivate you in a new experience. Your passion–> their passion.
I like this quote: “Your best credential is yourself”. I believe that being genuine and sincere are excellent qualities to have, and this makes you much more interesting.
Matt, thanks for sharing… thanks for caring. Hugs!
I love the video, so passionate about other people, boosting their confidence, showing you care.
However, most recently I feel the opposite. The more I care, show curiosity and kindness, the less are people interested in asking me anything at all. Everybody likes to talk about themselves and once they start, they like to continue without even stopping once and asking…and how are you today? It is energy draining and killing curiosity for others as there is only Me Me Me Me, ask me, talk about me, my interests, my troubles, my problems and no You questions. Maybe it´s the highly technical environment that I work in, but still. The more I ask “you” questions, the more the people talk, the less they ask questions, the less they care. Is kindness and caring not “in” anymore? I wonder…
I am 38, well trevelled, self educated in many aspects of life, worked abroad, have kids, quite a bit of experience in life, and yet the human psychology fascinates me in this respect. What you say, does not apply where I live.
I’m curious about what you said about vulnerability and showing weakness. To be honest, I find this very difficult. Humility seems to be a more attractive trait in a man whereas aren’t men more attracted to a confident woman? I don’t know but I wonder how I can show vulnerability without seeming that I don’t have confidence?
Thank you, Sir Matthew Blessings for your family in this Easter Wednesday, the fourth day of our Bright Week.
Vulnerable, as I see it, includes openness, with a firm knowledge of your own boundaries (values like love and a modicum of courtesy & modesty).
In Filipino, we say, “Huwag mong ibuhos lahat. Magtira ka ng kaunti para sa iyong sarili”. It translates to: “Don’t pour it all out. Leave something for yourself.” In this, I find you somewhat very Filipino, too
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