Key to Success: Being Interesting and Having a Great Story to Tell



Own The Room Core: Base is coming up on October 25th. The topics I am most excited to learn more about include executive presence, being memorable and the power of stories. I will, of course be reporting back.

In the meantime, I stumbled across this insightful piece in Entrepreneur on what it takes to be more interesting than average – and again storytelling features prominently.

Here are some key takeaways:

#1:  Be a powerful storyteller

Knowing how to tell stories is a powerful skill that interesting people possess. It’s also a skill that entrepreneurs need to have.

  • Rags-to-riches stories are especially compelling. Some believe it is part of our DNA to gravitate to stories of struggle and hardship that ultimately have a successful outcome.
  • This is clearly why I find biographies so fascinating (I didn’t realize it was part of my DNA).
  • Many prominent business leaders, athletes, and politicians who I admire have inspiring  background stories. Favorites include Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs, Rafael Nadal, Jamie Dimon (Chase), Phil Knight (one of the best stories ever). And I am about to start reading Principles by Ray Dalio.

#2:  Live an exceptional life that generates intrigue

 The best way to live an exceptional life is to surround yourself with people who already do fascinating things.

  • According to a study that followed 1,000 people over the course of eight decades, the people you associate with are the strongest influence on who you grow into.
  • Who is the most interesting person you know? For me, it’s got to be Brad. He never ceases to amaze (and amuse) me. I’m especially impressed by his appetite for life. He puts himself out there, unafraid to be on the stage of life. It’s the “doing” that makes him interesting. I’m much more of an observer, which is good but definitely a degree or two less interesting or exceptional.

Scroll down for more and click here for the entire Entrepreneur article.

#3:  Be an active listener

 I said this was one of my goals a year ago. Still working on it. So much harder than it seems.

  • As Entrepreneur writes: Find a good listener, and you’ll find someone who possesses the quality of making you (the listened-to) feel like the most fascinating person on the planet. Good listeners are a very rare species to come by — which is why they’re regarded as so interesting.
  • Active listening requires you be totally present (put that phone away).
  • Mark Zuckerberg reportedly has great listening skills.

#4:  Be expressive

 People who are wildly expressive convey enthusiasm and tend to be excellent at rallying the troops.

  • Famous expressives include Steve Ballmer, Richard Branson, Mario Batali.
  • Interesting that no “expressive” women immediately come to mind.

#5:  Share your knowledge

Interesting people love sharing their knowledge and life lessons – one of the reasons TED talks are so popular.

  • Sheryl Sandberg, COO at Facebook, is considered one of the very best at generously sharing her knowledge and life lessons.

Bottom Line: The two areas I am making a priority are storytelling (you will hear more about this) and active listening. For anyone reading this, when I next cut you off mid-sentence, you have my permission to jab me.

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