Being interesting

Everyone needs to be interesting at some point in their life. I had my good share of moments where I felt like rooting from the inside or falling asleep. Here is an attempt to do better than the worst speakers, presenters and teachers I had

In professional setting / meetings / presenting on a stage

Giving a reason for the audience to care is the first step, in my opinion. Why it is useful for them and what is the end game.

Choose the right mean of communication. If in doubt, go for the shortest form and asynchronous

Understand the audience point of view: interests, expertise, goals, etc.

Be dynamic, structured and coherent.

I find that it is not easy to improvise out of thin air. But a deep knowledge of the topic makes it way simpler.

Know what you are talking about, don’t try to hide what you don’t know. It’s a matter of being both credible (as a person qualified for what he/she does) and honest.

Having multiple levels of understanding. In table top rpg, I try to have several levels of understanding of the story. Basic: the players complete their quest and get the obvious things at play in the story. Advanced: some hidden details, stories and motives are uncovered, maybe connecting the quest to a bigger adventure. The idea is to reward the passionate players and listeners. In a presentation, it’s giving extra resources and mentioning connected topics.

Involve people, shake them. Change speakers, move, change tone, ask questions, split people into groups.

We also learn from what not to do: reading something during a live presentation. Having a monotone tone. Going off topic for no reason.

In a personal setting

It’s easier to avoid uninteresting people than boring meetings. Anyway, this is a reflection on what I consider key to being an interesting person.

Be known for what you create and do instead of for what you consume. Actively doing something is better than being a mere spectator. Have skin in the game, be invested in your passions. I prefer talking with the person doing amateur movies with a smartphone rather than the one binge watching Netflix.

Have something unique, worth noting. Personal preference, I tend to forget easily what’s plain.

I hesitate to include this one, I am not sure it would work for all: have something larger than life. It has an entertaining aspect. I don’t mean manufacturing something but a trait far away from the average and expected.

For someone crafting a public persona: know your positioning. People will associate only one characteristic to our face. It better be something good. Showing emotions and weakness makes someone more likeable.

Having an interesting lifestyle and passions

Have stories to tell or at least compelling anecdotes, involving people

Be curious and learn new stuff

Have your own opinions and your own reasoning backing up these opinions. For me, it is not about the opinions themselves (no one should care about opinions), but the depth and complexity of the reasoning. Boring people have groundless opinions, idiots too.

Being able to express complex ideas clearly.

Again, what not to do: only having surface level interests (popular movies, last series on Netflix, pop music). I consider these as default parameters, the most popular options which don’t require any effort to understand or any involvement.

And my controversial point: “I love travelling”, without further details. Let’s face it, we mostly travel to places which are designed to welcome tourists. We see the famous places as seen on the Internet. Sometimes, there is even a spot to take the exact same pictures we have seen! I respect those who take the time to get familiar with a new culture and history. To me, the others sound like: “I like being on vacation, not working and spending time being entertained’.

Being interesting is a choice.