8/10/15

Scripted Accidents



Life's like a play: it's not the length, but the excellence of the acting that matters.
Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Some time ago, I mentioned the importance of Social Skills in today’s society. I also mentioned how we at Being Caballero would post articles focusing on ‘tricks’ and ‘hacks’ to help out in developing your own Social Skills. If I am completely honest, I haven’t posted these kinds of articles as much as I might have wanted; something I plan to remedy this week. In an old post, I made a comparison between casual conversation and martial art forms, but now that I reread it, I think it needs to be expanded to include actual strategies. For that reason, today I want to talk to you about the art of Scripting.

What is Scripting?

Before you start mentioning coding, scripting is the ability to have a series of comments or answers pre-rehearsed or ‘programed’ into your everyday behavior. O.K., it’s sort of like coding. We all have these pre-programed comments and responses, no matter who you are. It’s that automatic “good morning” or “hello” you say without thinking or that unconscious smile you share back when someone smiles at you. If you still don’t believe that everyone does it without thinking, just think about the typical answer most people give a doctor when he asks how they are. First they say “Fine, thank you” and THEN they proceed to say everything that’s wrong.

So what if we could maximize our own ability to script conversation or the other person’s automatic response to these scripts? To do this you have to take into account two elements; the situation that prompts the comment and the comment itself. This means you need to have a specific situation happen to be able to fire the appropriate script. Also, the more detailed the script, the more it looks scripted and doesn’t allow for an actual interaction.

It might sound dumb at first, but proper scripting involves practice; that means repetition. Start with your everyday events. Say ‘Good morning’ every time you step into a room or an elevator. Flash a smile for added charm and to lower people’s resistance to interaction. Say ‘Have a good day’ as you leave. Notice that the comment is the Script (comment) and the action is the Trigger (moment when action is done). But other than your typical events, could this be taken further? Of course, you just have to create your own Accidents. (moment)

We’ve all heard of conversation starters, some curious item with a story behind it. And if there is one thing that you can always count on is human curiosity. Maybe you have a distinctive ring or an interesting pin. Everything in life has an interesting story behind it, so learn to be a story teller. Instead of getting another BIC® lighter, carry something more distinctive. Instead of reading a book off a nondescript tablet, read a book with a cover. Set up the Hook so the other person can pull the Trigger. Just don’t make the script to long or dramatic. A simple comment, a conversation starter, works best here.

For lack of an interesting item to serve as a Hook, you can simply create the Accidents out of thin air to provide the proper Trigger, although these require a bit more moxie. The first is a Drop-In, something the other person has or is doing that allows you to comment, giving the other person the opportunity to go into their own Script. Maybe they have an interesting Hook themselves, like an unusual necklace for example. The other accident, and the one that requires a lot more observation on your part, or at least luck, is the Affinity, having something in common. It can be something as fortunate as realizing that you both are reading the same book to something as simple as a “It’s finally Friday” comment spoken out loud.

Keep in mind that scripting only works well when it’s a short natural element within a conversation, and you genuinely express yourself in the comment. When done too long, it becomes a monologue. When done without a degree of honesty, it becomes a lie. These serve only as an opening gambit, the key to unlocking the first stage of the play that is any social interaction.