How to Get People Excited About What You Have to Say

by Vlad Dolezal on October 19, 2009

Back in high school, I had a fantastic economics teacher. He would always talk excitedly about the topic we covered in class, tell us related (and unrelated) stories, and show us current real-world examples of exactly what we were covering. You could just feel the fascination with economics oozing through his pores. Everybody loved him.

Then, one day, we got to a topic called “indifference curves”. And straight away, the teacher told us he really doesn’t like them. He dropped his usual excitement and only feebly attempted to joke around. For the next lesson or two that we covered this, the energy level of the whole classroom went down several notches, pretty much down to the usual dreary boring high school class levels.

I always remember this teacher not only because he managed to get absolutely everybody excited about economics… but also because I saw what a difference his attitude made on the one topic he didn’t like. I actually thought indifference curves were pretty interesting (I even drew a Chuck Norris joke relating to them in my notes), but his attitude just dragged the whole class down.

Funnily enough, most people act the exact opposite way. Most of the time, they make everything sound dreary and boring, and only occasionally get really excited about what they’re saying. Let’s change that!

Excitement is contagious

You’ve probably heard someone describe a topic in such a passionate way, you just couldn’t help being interested. Hell, I’ve heard a friend tell a completely fascinating story about making a tomato-lettuce-bacon sandwich!

Excitement is incredibly catchy! One of my favorite examples of excitement is FPS_Doug – thinking of this video always cracks me up, no matter how down I’m feeling :D

When I was younger, I talked very monotonously, and didn’t let much emotion through. So even when I was talking about something I was absolutely passionate about, I made it sound about as exciting as watching paint dry.

Eventually, I took the time to figure out what makes interesting passionate people so interesting… and here’s a simple 3-step method to help you do the same!

How to get people excited about what you have to say

1. Pick a topic you’re passionate about

I could probably keep you entranced with stories and fun little experiments about psychology and the human mind for a good few dozen minutes, but ask me to talk about football, and I’ll put you to sleep faster than a professional hypnotist.

It’s all about picking something _you_ are absolutely passionate about. Yeah, I know, you’re always told to talk about what the other person is interested in. That’s great advice, but for the sake of this experiment, we’ll have you talking about something YOU love!

2. Find an interesting angle to explain it from

You can make anything sound boring. What if I told you something’s all about sitting motionless for an hour and a half, barely moving your arms, and occasionally wiggling your fingers?

Not too exciting? I’m talking about driving a Formula 1 race!

Similarly, you can make anything interesting if you approach it from a good angle. In fact, this whole article was inspired by Benny‘s comment on my article on how to stop boring conversations:

(…) Instead of lying or avoiding the question I exaggerate the answer. I dont say I’m a translator; I say that I bridge gaps between cultures — sounds pompous, but technically its true.

Instead of “Maths” you can say that you study the rules of the universe and the greatest achievement of mankind. You could say how passionate you are about particular specialities (e.g. how statistics comes up in such obscure and interesting parts of life etc.) and not use the word “Maths”, which they would associate with their boring secondary school teacher. I used to be a Maths teacher and always introduced my job with such drama that you’d swear I was a lion tamer…

You can make anything sound exciting if you pick the right angle to approach it from.

3. Put a LOT more excitement into your voice than you’re used to

Did you watch the FPS_Doug video above? When I first saw it, I showed it to some friends, and then we were joking around, running around, crouching and jumping, saying “BOOM HEADSHOT!” like Doug in the video.

Or at least that’s what we thought. But when a friend recorded me on video, I saw that I was actually saying more of a “boom headshot” as opposed to Doug’s BOOM HEADSHOT!!! YEAH!!!

Moral of the story? You’ll sound a lot less excited than you think. So don’t be afraid to go completely overboard at first.

In fact, do this exercise with a friend. You both find a topic you’re passionate about and an interesting way of explaining it, and then try saying it to each other again and again, getting more and more excited every time!

It’s hard to get excited by yourself, but once you start getting into it with a friend, you will just feed off each other’s excitement, to ridiculous proportions! Soon you’ll be saying things like “So you TOTALLY try differentiating the function and YOU’RE GOING ALONG THE X AXIS, going along the x axis and OH NO!!! there’s a discontuity at x=0!!! But WAIT, there’s hope…”

If you can’t find a topic that you find super-exciting that your friend would understand, then by all means, talk about brushing your teeth or something! You really don’t need an inherently exciting topic to practice this. It’s all about letting go of your inhibitions, and putting as much emotion as possible into your talking.

And that’s all for today. Go find a friend to do this with (feel free to send them a link to this article so they know what you’re on about), and practice the 3 steps. Soon you’ll get people excited about what you have to say just by opening your mouth!

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Benny the Irish polyglot October 19, 2009 at 15:52

Glad you liked my example so much :) Your further explanation is definitely something I apply a lot.
Not sure if you noticed during the Esperanto meetings, but when I want to be dramatic I use lots of cliffhanging pauses in mid conversation, deepen my voice almost to the point of movie-trailer guy, look the other person in the eye and use my whole body to express it. Seriously, you can talk about ANY topic and keep someone’s interest this way. When I want to convert non-techies used to IE to Firefox (somewhat along the lines of your post about Linux passion vs Google passion) I open with “Today I am going to introduce you to something that will change the way you use the Internet… forever”. I use it to encourage people to help me learn their language; rather than describing myself as just another eager learner, I very dramatically tell them that I’m on an adventure in immersion. People have compared me to Indiana Jones after I describe my battle against 7 case declensions, my struggle to conquer to rolled R etc. He fought bad-guys and saved the world etc., but I can make my normal day sound just as exciting without any special effects :P
When it comes to having a normal boring conversation with me, people either tend to find it very funny or very annoying. It’s a great way of weeding boring people out of my life :P

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Vlad Dolezal October 20, 2009 at 09:52

@Benny:

Hmm, Benny Lewis and The 7 Case Declensions… Of DOOM! That has a nice ring to it :P

Seriously cool stuff, though. I’ve never had a very long conversation with you, so I can’t tell how fun the small talk with you is, but I’ll definitely try taking some of your conversation tactics and see how they work for me ;)

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Polprav October 23, 2009 at 07:35

Hello from Russia!
Can I quote a post in your blog with the link to you?

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sona November 10, 2009 at 11:26

hey..i m so so so excited about the life now..i was a boring hose wife..no no more
moron talks by me … u hav just made my day a Super day..

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Resha April 22, 2012 at 05:34

You should convince the person to get interest with your topic so that He/She get excited of it. Most of us get excited when we are talking about love especially for the girls because through this conversation, we express our feelings and laughing with friends and sharing experiences and advises as well.
Resha┬┤s last post ..are warts contagious?

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