Don’t be “that guy”… but how ?

Original Author: Julien Delavennat

Last time I said I would give more details about my interweaving method, didn’t I ? I’m working on it, but the post will need to be pretty dense. And since I have urgent, critical and time-consuming stuff to do at the moment, but don’t want to stop posting here on AltDev, my post today will be short and off-topic 😀

A while ago I was reading through this excellent series of articles about networking and the last article of the list made me think.

It turns out, I AM that guy. Well, sort of, I’m me, but… let me explain.

People have sighed when talking about me, I’ve often embarrassed myself in ways I’ve never really understood. People considered me as different. I’ve been isolated sometimes :D. People have said I’m weird. I never got any clues about the reason why, ever.

Until recently realizing that I was that guy, and what that meant.

In this post I’ll talk about a definition of who “that guy” is, what the problem is, and how it could be solved.

Let’s talk about what being that guy means.

  • People don’t take you seriously.
  • You embarrass yourself a lot, often without realizing it.
  • People don’t pay attention to you, or when they do, they’re wondering what the f- you’re doing or talking about.
  • People aren’t interested in you or what you have to say.
  • People avoid you if they can.
  • People basically don’t like you very much.

Why would that be the case ? I think we can sum up like this: you have to be seen as relevant to people’s needs and interests.

Let’s see what happens if you’re not.

  • If you’re talking about stuff nobody cares about, you’re wasting people’s time.
  • If you’re trying to grab people’s attention for no reason, you’re abusing any attention people are paying to you, hence giving them a reason NOT to care about you next time.
  • If you’re talking about yourself, why on earth would people care about that ?
  • If you don’t offer something upfront, people might assume you don’t have anything to offer, and will ignore you.

People care about themselves, and well… you’re not them, so talking about yourself is… rarely relevant.

Think about it.

If people are willing to spend resources on you (time, brain-cpu-cycles, energy and whatever), they’re expecting to get something out of it. People want you to spend resources on them before spending resources on you. People want to talk about themselves, not to hear about you. People want you to validate them, not yourself.

I summed up the problem by saying we had to “be seen as” relevant didn’t I ?

There is one mistake I used to make regularly. I’ve spent a couple of years doing my best to give constructive feedback to amateur video-makers on warcraftmovies.com and tell them how to make their videos better. But few people thought I was helping. Some people thought I was talking nonsense. I was only trying to help.

I tried to be useful. But that wasn’t enough, there is another thing we need to do.

We need to be understandable. If you’re trying to help people but it looks like you’re not, how can people accept your advice ? Some people feel offended when we tell them they can improve. Those people don’t understand what you’re trying to do, and misinterpret it.

As I said, you have to show that you’re useful upfront. If you don’t make your use clear enough for people to understand it, you’re doing it wrong.

Be useful, be understandable. Or as I prefer to phrase it: “make yourself indispensable, prove that you are”.

Oh and put other people’s interests before yours… or understand that by helping other people, you’re helping yourself.

 

Another problem is, if you ARE that guy, how would you know ? You probably won’t, unless you do… that IS a no brainer, yes.

If you’re that guy only half of the time, you’ve got a chance at improving, you do that 😀

 

Anyway, this is common sense, but it has eluded me for YEARS, so I hope this will help some of you too n_n