Thursday, April 29, 2010

Game Tip o’ the Day: Get a Friend to Film You

I have a “smile” that I deploy whenever I pass an attractive female in a hallway and she inadvertently makes eye contact.  I call it “tight and noncommittal”.  The intent of The Smile is say, “No, I’m not interested in hitting on you, so if you say hello I promise I won’t follow you home.”  I’ve used it for years.

As I walked through the weight room on my way to the lockers at the gym last week, I had occasion to use The Smile.  And for whatever reason, I happened to catch myself in the mirror while it was still on my face.

Damn . . . I need a New Smile for these situations!  Because the one I’m using could be charitably described as a grimace.  This may have something to do with the reaction its been getting.

The first eye-opening moment of self-realization that I can recall came in college.  My parents and I were visiting a faculty member at the college I attended.  The faculty member was Asian Indian and had several attractive daughters, the oldest with which I fell into conversation.  Now, recently, Sheila described me (in the nicest way!) as a “Christian Dork”, but in college, a more apt characterization would probably have been “College Republican Dork,” which is an order of magnitude worse.  So, here I was, presented with a chance to talk to a pretty girl, and what did I choose to talk about?

Politics!  And not even international politics either, but petty domestic policy issues with absolutely zero resonance for a young woman who had only been in America for a few years.  Although she listened to me with bemused indulgence, the conversation was wrong on so many levels, all of which add up to not getting a second conversation.

But see, the only reason I know this is that one of the younger daughters caught a bit of this conversation on a camcorder.  This was back in the early eighties when they were still a novelty, and we all gathered around the television to watch ourselves after dinner.  I shook my head in disbelief as I thought, badly played.

I’ve had similar moments when I’ve listened to recordings of my voice.  I, for one, am so unaware of what I sound like while I speak that I don’t even recognize my own voice in recordings.  But once, my answering machine accidently recorded a telephone conversation with a friend, to which I subsequently listened.  And I realized that (1) I talk too fast, (2) I use the word “actually” as an all purpose transition (which is funny because my youngest daughter has now picked up the habit), and (3) I make a “tsk” sound every time I am about to speak.

The point of my relating these experiences is to illustrate that it is very difficult for us to be fully aware of how we present ourselves to other people.  We may think that our speech, carriage and gestures ought to be effective, but until we actually see ourselves from the outside we don’t really know.

I would recommend the following:

  1. 1.  Make a friend.

  2. 2.  Get your friend to film you interacting with third parties, preferably with parties with whom you want your conversation to be “results oriented.”

  3. 3.  Watch the video.  Take note of your body language and vocal intonation.  Solicit feedback from people who’s opinion you respect.  And, if this is your thing, have someone point out to you the other person’s non-verbal signals that you might be missing.

  4. 4. Rinse and repeat.

Smilewise, I'm working on flirty-with-a-hint-of-smirk. I'm not sure it's working out . . . .

10 comments:

Moonfairy said...

I have to say, I was cracking up when you were describing your smile issues! You made some really great points about outside interpretation. Also, you're not the only person that doesn't recognize your own voice on recordings, I always think it's a teenage girl on mine!

Erik said...

Hopelessly beta.

You find her attractive. You don't want to let her get even a hint of that, because it would be embarrassing to admit that and it would leave you in a position of relative weakness. Even if you have no other intentions.

Why not just a genuine smile and a "how are you?"

Who cares what she thinks.

αΦ > ßΦ

;)

Φ said...

Why not just a genuine smile and a "how are you?"

For this reason, metaphorically speaking.

Congratulations on being my first commenter to spell my name right. :-)

Erik said...

LOL. FWIW, I know because I am a recovering beta as well.

samsonsjawbone said...

Damn . . . I need a New Smile for these situations! Because the one I’m using could be charitably described as a grimace. This may have something to do with the reaction its been getting...

The point of my relating these experiences is to illustrate that it is very difficult for us to be fully aware of how we present ourselves to other people. We may think that our speech, carriage and gestures ought to be effective, but until we actually see ourselves from the outside we don’t really know.


Lawl... this is certainly no surprise to me. I've been told for, what? - years now that I'm "too serious", or a myriad of other traits that are not at all what I attempt to project. I think mastery of one's carriage, demeanour and body language is an Alpha quality. Betas, OTOH, are unaware that their body language conveys a meaning that is not at all the intended one.

I've been planning a post on what may be a similar subject; viz., that there's nothing to make you want to kill your inner Beta by witnessing that Beta behaviour in someone else, and saying to yourself, "Good Lord, I hope that's not how I come across!"

samsonsjawbone said...

Also, 1(a):

Make sure your potential new friend has NO IDEA that you're befriending him/her with the aim of enlisting him/her to videotape you in a desperate bid to improve your inner game.

;)

Johnny Canuck said...

wow just say "hi", then if she stops say "i noticed you and wanted to see if you were cool", you don't need a video camera you are not auditioning for a role with tom cruise, do tell your friends to point out your flaws without holding back and try to improve upon them though

wow, just, wow

ironrailsironweights said...

If you know you're being videotaped you're probably not going to act or speak naturally.

Peter

Φ said...

Peter: true. But if you're interacting with an attractive woman, you're not acting "naturally" either. Nor should you want to.

Sheila Tone said...

No one likes the sound of his or her recorded voice. This is well-established, and often used as a way to gain the upper-hand in certain negotiations (play a tape of the person to them if you have one).

You *probably* don't sound as bad as you think you do.