Do you often feel out of place in conversation? Everyone seems to be talking, laughing, and overall having a great time. Meanwhile, you’re just standing there, listening to every single world that is being said hoping that you can find a word or phrase that someone else said to use as fodder to enter yourself into the conversation. You feel that you have nothing to contribute that could be considered interesting. It is indeed a terrible feeling.
This feeling generally does not come out when you’re hanging out with your friends either because, well, they are your friends. It occurs more often when you meet people from different backgrounds and because you feel as if you don’t have enough in common.
However, if you stop worrying about the difference in background, simply acknowledge it, and learn to look past it and become interested in where that person comes from, he or she will find you extremely interesting. This is due to one of the strangest paradoxes in the world. The more you listen and the less you say, the more interesting you become. People love to talk about themselves, and by you just simply listening to them talk, they will consider you an interesting person.
By becoming more geographically and culturally literate, you will have a better understanding of how people are different and the different backgrounds they come from. As a result, you will have common areas of discussion that can come about. By knowing even just a little bit about somebody’s background, that knowledge can be used to ask a few early questions on that to get the other person talking.
If you know that you’re going to be meeting with clients from Egypt soon, read up a little bit about Egyptian culture and life. Then see how the conversation goes and most importantly, actively LISTEN to what they are saying. They will definitely remember you as the one who was the most interesting while your coworkers blabber incessantly about themselves. And when they are thinking about closing the deal, they will remember how truly interesting you were and how you really wanted to get to know you, and they will sign the papers to go through with the contract.