Step 3 - To Set the Atmosphere for a Productive Conversation or Interview...Sincere Interest and Genuine Curiosity
"Fake it till you make it" has no place in productive conversations or interviews. Setting up the atmosphere for a productive conversations should be approached with a high level of sincere interest and genuine curiosity. Before I go further, I must give credit where credit is due. I learned this philosophy from the excellent training I received from Joe Zente and Z-Three Performance Development in Austin, TX http://www.zthree.com/ . Joe's philosophy is that the person you are talking with is smart. If you conduct a conversation faking interest or curiosity, you will be discovered, "busted" and, even worse, come across as untrustworthy every time. Let's cover what each idea means. Sincere interest is, for some people, a difficult thing to display. So many people seem to be going through life having conversations at home, work and in social settings not seeming to care about anything, especially the person he is talking with. Sincere interest in the person you are talking with or the subject you are discussing cannot be faked...but it can be generated.
How do you generate sincere interest? One method is to expand the thought I mentioned in my last blog post - thinking of the conversation as being fun, of going on a treasure hunt! It is a fact that the person you are going to have a conversation with knows some pearls of wisdom that can enrich your mind and life. Your job is to find those pearls by diving into questions that will uncover your treasure while having conversation. Asking good questions can engage the other person's interest as well as yours, thus creating a mutually beneficial and fun treasure hunt for wisdom. I'll be covering questioning techniques in a future blog post.
Genuine curiosity is also a key ingredient. For some people, genuine curiosity is not hard to do. But if you are one of those people who are not so curious, remember this (again learned from Z-Three Development): if you draw a pie chart and divide it into three sections, one section takes up about 10% of the chart, the other takes up 10% and the third section takes up the remaining 80%. Now fill in the first small section with "KNK" (I know what I know), the second small section with "KWDK" (I know what I don't know), and the large section with "DKDK" (I don't know what I don't know). This provides a visual that is absolutely true. What we know that we know and what we know that we don't know are cognizant and small in comparison to the vast amounts of information that we don't know that we don't know! Realizing that filling in that large section of the pie, what we don't know that we don't know, is found in the treasures we discover through conversations we have with others, should generate genuine curiosity to what the other person has to say!
So go out there and have fun on your treasure hunt. You might even strike it rich!