A guy I know makes a point of being windswept and interesting (his words). He does this in a global engineering company.
Let’s call him Richard (I’ll save his blushes).
Mention Richard and people smile.
Good technically? A given. Fluent in engineering speak? Definitely. An extrovert? Oh yes.
Richard uses his tone of voice, great stories and ideas to get inside your head and spark your imagination. He creates ‘aha’ moments for fellow engineers and helps us mere mortals get the clever technical stuff too. He always talks to people as if we’re ready to be entertained. People think he’ll be interesting and they’re usually ready to listen.
Customers love Richard. They like his presentations and he’s not a suit, despite wearing one. His approach opens boardroom doors and the day is always a bit more fun when he’s around. Being windswept and interesting helps Richard to stand out in a very competitive industry.
But Richard isn’t unique. You probably know someone just like him. That person who’s just a bit different, a bit more special than everyone else. The person who makes you wish you could be more like them – clever, engaging, able to get people interested. But we can all be a bit more like Richard.
You might think it’s about acting a certain way but it’s actually about thinking.
Richard takes time to think through what works for him and his audience. And that’s something we can all do, whether we’re speaking or writing.
If you want someone to be interested, be interested in them. Ask yourself:
- Who are they and what do they already understand about what I’m saying?
- How can I make it relevant to them? What are they worried about and how can I help?
- How can I make what I say memorable? Use facts and stories to paint pictures, “35 elephants would fit in this foyer” or “Imagine as we sit here 600 of our aircraft are flying passengers all around the world”.
- How will I sound? Would you listen?
- What is it about me that makes me different to them? How can I show this? Am I the expert? The problem solver? The fresh pair of eyes?
The answers might not always be clear. But if you can be brave then you can think your way to being windswept and interesting. Unlike engineering it’s not rocket science.