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How Not To Be a Bore

In An Actor Prepares, Constantin Stanislavsky (the father of modern acting) demanded that actors - to truly be good at their craft - "cut 90 per cent."

I offer similar advice to my speaking clients. As content experts, we often have the urge to tell everything we know about our subject, assuming the world is as interested in it as we are. Even if our conversation partners are incredibly captivated by what we do, unless they are colleagues engaged in the same line of inquiry/practice at the same level, they need it broken down for them. In easily-digestible, bite-sized pieces. They can't know all that we know (that's why we're the experts!) and so we need to meet them at their level. If we don't, we fall into the trap of droning, monologuing, and otherwise boring or confusing people who, through no fault of their own, have become our unwitting "audience." And how do they respond? Can you say, "Excuse me while I find that cheese dip?"

So as you go out to socialize with family, friends, and colleagues this holiday season, don't be the bore at the party. If someone ask you what you're up to professionally, give them the Twitter version - short, sweet, somewhat intriguing. If you tantalize them (and if they are interested in the subject), you may be able to arrange a follow-up meeting. If they have no interest in your subject matter, at least you found out in a mercifully short time, and can go connect with someone else. 

Oh - this advice works for non-business encounters, as well. It is a good rule of thumb to follow whenever you want to cultivate a relationship. As that old rascal P.T. Barnum said: "always leave 'em wanting more"!

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