Time, they say, is money. It is also a very scarce resource which we all need to manage properly. You are probably at a networking event, a party, a dinner or any other social event for that matter, and you find yourself trying to engage someone in a conversation. Wouldn’t it be great to know if you are boring that person so you can politely move on to another person you wouldn’t [hopefully] bore? Well, here are some tips I found from Psychology Today that can help you read the signs.
1. Repeated, perfunctory responses. A person who repeats, “Oh really? Wow. Oh really? Interesting.” isn’t particularly engaged.
2. Simple questions. People who are bored ask simple questions. “When did you move?” “Where did you go?” People who are interested ask more complicated questions that show curiosity, not mere politeness.
3. Interruption. Although it sounds rude, interruption is actually a good sign, I think. It means a person is bursting to say something, and that shows interest. Similarly…
4. Request for clarification. A person who is sincerely interested in what you’re saying will ask you to elaborate or to explain. “What does that term mean?” “When exactly did that happen?” “Then what did he say?” are the kinds of questions that show that someone is trying closely to follow what you’re saying.
5. Imbalance of talking time. Don’t hog the conversation. Granted you may have something very interesting or fascinating to share, talking 80% of the time can easily bore the other person. Allow the other person to add their opinions, information and experiences to the conversation.
6. Abrupt changes in topic. You’re talking to someone about, how great Muhammad Ali is, and all of a sudden the other person says, “So how are your kids?”, it’s a sign that he or she isn’t very interested or perhaps not listening at all.
7. Body position. The body of the person you are speaking with will face you completely. A person who is partially turned away isn’t fully into the conversation.
8. Audience posture. 1885, Sir Francis Galton wrote a paper called “The Measurement of Fidget.” He determined that people slouch and lean when bored, so a speaker can measure the boredom of an audience by seeing how far from vertically upright they are. Also, attentive people fidget less; bored people fidget more. An audience that’s sitting still and upright is interested, while an audience that’s horizontal and fidgety is bored.
Do you have other tips that have not been mentioned here?