How to Show Genuine Interest


Interested in snowboarding @ Erik Back 2000

A couple of days ago I wrote a post about how to show interest. It has become the third most read post on my blog and a lot of people search for advice on how to show genuine interest; I can see that from the Google searches that is referred to my blog. The keyword that made me write this post as a follow up on my previous post was the word genuine and today I will give you 4 steps to genuine interest.

To show genuine interest in something you have to be genuinely interested. Thus, the question is not how to show genuine interest, the question is how to be genuinely interested. There is no way you can fake genuine interest because the receiver of faked interest will feel it immediately; and so will you! The only way to be genuinely interested is by feeling an interest for the subject or person in question.

A feeling comes from a related experience you have had. E.g. If you have never tried to snowboard and I enthusiastically tell you how great it is snowboarding on fresh powder snow, you will smile and say – that’s nice, good for you! You will not start a conversation because you have not had the experience that makes you feel what I felt snowboarding on powder snow.

To be genuinely interested you have to be able to recall a feeling from a related experience. E.g. you are an experienced surfer and when I tell you about snowboarding you compare your experiences from surfing and that will generate a genuine interest.

The good news is that you can always recall a related feeling. The first thing you have to do is observe and listen to the person you are talking to. Find out what this person is actually saying and look for keywords and clues you can relate to. Connect these keywords to experiences you have had that are related and the feeling of interest will come. As soon as that feeling shows up you will know what to say or ask and you will automatically seem genuinely interested because you are genuinely interested.

4 steps to genuine interest

  1. Listen and observe.
  2. Find keywords you can relate to.
  3. Connect the keywords to past experiences.
  4. Ask questions based on the feelings you get.

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