We all love to talk about ourselves.

It’s so easy to talk about ourselves, right? It’s easy to share our history, our ideas, what made us become artists, and what we enjoy about being artists. We can go on and on about our techniques, our tools of the trade, and why we use a certain kind of tool for a certain kind of effect.

And if we are really good at telling our stories, we can fascinate a total stranger and  become entertaining tour guides of our art and our souls. But the listener, while fascinated and even very attentive, is distant and unattached to you or your art. They don’t feel included.

This is not a conversation. This is someone talking at them, not engaging them. They are not becoming invested in the idea of ownership. And the more you talk, the less invested they become.

Egos need comforting

Here’s the rub: we all want to talk about ourselves, offer a thought, show off our knowledge, be “in-the-know”, and prove our worth. We all want to be the center of attention now and then. We all want to feel important!

So while you are busy telling them all about you, they are beginning to feel that you don’t care about them. You took a simple question like, “How long have you been an artist?” and turned it into a full-blown story of your life. You aren’t showing any interest in what matters to them. You are making it all about you when it should be all about them. 

Our Egos totally control this dance. We all love it when we are recognized as fascinating, or clever, or awe-inspiring, so please, I beg you: Recognize them! Let them be fascinating, clever, and show off their expertise. Best of all, let them share their dreams!

Ask questions

The easiest way to be curious about what matters to them is to ask them questions. And if they want to tell you their entire life story, so be it! Whatever they share, it’s a story that they apparently need to tell in order to be comfortable with you. Let them grow more and more comfortable. They won’t buy anything until they are totally comfortable.

None of us buy anything (car, mattress, or a ticket to a movie) until we are totally comfortable and feel secure.

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