Any martial artist who’s worth his salt will tell you the same thing: 99% of being an expert is nailing down the basics. As my old instructor liked to joke, “Anything above yellow belt is just for looking fancy.” The same is true elsewhere in life. Establish a basis, a solid foundation, a routine, and the rest will follow. Try and run before you can walk, however, and you’ll just fall flat on your face. Game is no different.
The number one thing you need to do to improve your dating prospects is to regularly approach women. That’s it; just go out and speak to them. Fancy push-pull dialogue, clever openers, understanding kino—all of that stuff is useful, but if you don’t approach women in the first place it’s never going to work.
With that in mind it’s worth revisiting the basics of communication; it’s worth detailing the step-by-step process which we all use whenever we converse with anyone—whether it be with one of the few remaining North American women who’s worth speaking to, your boss at work, or a client you’re cold calling. Each situation might be tactically unique, but strategically they’re all the same, and since communication is such a vital skill it’s worth understanding what the basics actually are.
The Art Of The Sale
I’ve worked as a salesman on and off for most of my life. Telemarketing, door-to-door, business-to-business—even a bit of retail. Cold calling is a tough skill to master, but I managed to make a living off of it for many years. The secret? I always returned to the basics, and made sure I was getting them right.
Sales can be summed up in six steps:
In practice they all seem to flow together, creating a seamless whole, but if you’ve ever seen a sales script written out, the individual elements become obvious. Often each portion will be separated by a paragraph break. In fact, these six steps appear in other places, as well—not just in the bull pen. Consider, for instance:
- Establish the setting
- Inciting incident
- Rising tensions
- Low point
The six steps that salesmen use to hawk a product are functionally identical to the six-steps in a narrative arc; they’re also reflected in essay writing, classroom lectures, contract negotiations, you name it. These aren’t merely technical techniques used by sales experts, these six steps are the primordial basis for all human communication. They are the dance of life. If you want to communicate effectively, then you need to understand how they work, and why each one of them is necessary.
The Six Steps Analyzed
Who are you and how do I know you?
Any time you initiate conversation—whether you’re knocking on somebody’s door, bringing up an issue to your boss, or meeting a girl at a coffee shop—you need to establish who you are to them and why they should care.
Human beings spend most of their time living in their own head. They worry about how others think of them, they muse on past memories, they reflect on the local environment, but what they’re not doing is thinking of others. This isn’t to say that they’re all selfish (though there is an element of that); it’s mainly to point out that they’re not mind readers!
When you initiate a conversation in real life, it isn’t like a text message which is stored in somebody’s inbox until they have time to analyze it; you need to quickly establish who you are in relation to them. You need to employ the appropriate body language—smiling if you’re friendly, stern if there’s a problem that needs addressing—and inform them of who you are, and how the two of you are related. We all have multiple relationships with everybody in our lives, and it’s important to define which relationship you’re talking about right off the bat. For example:
“Hey boss, it’s Mick from the IT Department, (there’s an IT issue that needs to be addressed),”
“Hey boss, it’s Mick, the guy on your payroll, (I need to talk to you about pay issues).”
“Hey honey, you’re looking sexy, (I want to discuss our love life),”
“Hey honey, I’ve been reviewing our finances, (we need to discuss the mortgage).”
An effective introduction allows them to establish the correct frame of mind for dealing with the issue you’re about to bring up. Remember – people are busy worrying about their own stuff, and the more of their own thinking that you can do for them, the easier of a time they’ll have understanding you.
What’s the problem?
The second step is where you address the issue at hand. In many cases this is obvious: “Hey boss, it’s Mick from the IT Department, we need to talk about the Cisco Routers,” but when it comes to interpersonal communications people will often assume that the other person knows what they’re talking about.
“Honey, I’m upset…”
“About what? The weather? The national debt? Our gay, autistic son? WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME WOMAN???”
Notice that in the above there was no Introduction or Description—merely the next step, Emphasis. Once you’ve established who it is that’s speaking, you need to immediately get to the point; failing to do so frustrates and infuriates the person you’re speaking to.
Is this important?
Once again, remember that other people are too busy dealing with their own issues to worry about yours; they aren’t mind readers. If something’s important—to the future of your business, the future of the family, or if it’s just a really cool vacuum cleaner that you’re selling—then you need to tell the person why it’s important. If you don’t provide the emphasis, then they’ll assume that you’re just making small talk, or cathartically venting, or just chatting to hear your own voice. “Boss, those Cisco Routers? They control the Debit machines, not just the Internet.”
This is where you provide the energy that will propel the conversation forward; if you fail to do so, the other person will remain indifferent, they won’t realize that what you’re saying really matters.
What do you think?
Other people aren’t sitting around waiting for you to walk up to them, which is why you needed the first three steps; the fourth step involves you being empathetic.
Since you initiated the contact, it’s up to you to consider the other person’s thoughts and feelings. Ask them questions; Are you familiar with this problem? Have you given any thought to this issue? How do you feel about this? Provide them an opening to respond to you; assess their thoughts and feelings so that you can calibrate your own response. Involve them in the dialogue as an active participant.
Don’t dictate to others; dialogue with them.
I’m just not interested, bub.
As door-to-door salesmen like to say, “Every ‘No’ gets you closer to a ‘Yes!'”
The whole point of initiating dialogue is that there is already a disagreement in place; after all, if there wasn’t, you could both continue on as you were. The reason you’re conversing is to introduce the disagreement, analyze it, and negotiate it. By questioning the other person you gave them a chance to bring up their concerns, you gave them a chance to explain why they don’t think it’s a problem; the rebuttal is your chance to acknowledge their argument, and provide a counter.
“I understand what you’re saying, but I wouldn’t bring this up if it weren’t important.”
Acknowledge their response to your question, and use it to form your rebuttal; then go back to step four and repeat, until…
So it’s all settled then?
Revisit the initial problem, and restate the conclusion that you arrived at. In sales, this is known as “Closing”; getting their signature, reiterating what they’re signing up for, and ensuring that they’re happy with the final result. As one of my old sergeants used to say, “First you tell them what you’re going to learn, then you learn ‘em, then you tell them what they just learned.” The movie needs the denouement after the climax, the happy ending, and the conversation needs to revisit the results it achieved. This ensure clarity for all parties, and helps settle any emotions or frustrations that were brought up in the process.
The Six Steps And Game
- “Hi, do you know where I can find…?” I’m just a friendly fellow on the street, who needs help finding something.
- “…the nearest pet store?” I’m looking for a pet store; I like animals, you can trust me.
- “I’m thinking of buying a pet for my friend.” I need to find a pet store so I can do something kind.
- “Do you think buying a pet for someone else is a good idea?” That’s what I’m all about — what are you all about?
- “Oh really? Well, would you say…” Dialogue initiated; go back to step 4 with a new question.
- “I’ll call you this weekend!” Close it out – future relations now have a solid footing.
Each step is necessary. Back when I was doing sales, if I ran into difficulties it was usually because I had skipped over or muddled one of them. A basic rule of diagnostics is that you eliminate the simple explanations before looking for the advanced explanations, and if you’re running into difficulties in a market you should start by re-examining yourself before attributing your problems to some sort of external event. By breaking down communication this way—and getting a sense of where it was along the process that the conversation started to falter—you can correct your mistakes more quickly to help improve your outcomes.
As I mentioned in my video Charisma for Introverts, communication is a vital skill throughout all of our life, and if you can nail down game then there’s no reason you can’t apply the same skills elsewhere. The tactics may be different, but the strategy remains the same.