What if we size people up wrongly during conversation?
Let's say someone you just met was speaking to you about their favorite restaurant in the city, how would you react? How much would you invest in their communication to you?
Who knows, it depends, right?
There is a very high chance however that you would engage/feel value/and invest yourself in the conversation very differently if it was someone with a name tag from a company you are dying to work with vs. the janitor at the party who was on break vs. the most attractive person you've seen all year.
As it’s useless to try to change our natural biological or emotional reactions there is something we can manage that will change the way you interact with people and the depth of your social wealth. It’s your care level.
Let’s say the above conversation was delivered word for word with identical body language and vocal tonality (exclusively) by different people. Dig deep inside and be honest, what type of person would make you feel like you cared more about what they were saying than someone else?
We are pretty bad at knowing long term who to invest more into even though we draw up ideals in our head. The positive results in relationships you have had from investing in others came from a sample of these ideals rather than from everyone that came across your path.
The better hack is to care, at least initially in conversation, for a much wider spectrum of people, almost everyone. What we found at Jaunty is by caring more you unlock a lot of connections and skills. Caring more gets you tuned in to what people are saying with their language, facial expressions, other body language and voice. You start to become a reader of the magic between the lines in conversation and can more easily build connections, comfort and trust with others.
To better understand how this feels think about the different doctors you have had. Think about the ones that had higher care levels vs the ones who barely took their eyes of the computer while talking to you. Everyone feels these things in every conversation.
Ways to spark care in conversation:
We all love to think ourselves as caring people, and we are. But what do you think our percentages are per person we encounter? Well, Eric, I can’t care for everyone! Yes you’re right, I’m first asking that you care about what people are expressing to you, I mean, you’re already in the conversation anyway. You then naturally start caring more for the person.
When you get good at this, you can read other people's care level almost immediately, and can adjust your conversation as needed. Gary Vaynerchuk is a master at this, and I do believe his engagements are as fulfilling to him as he says they are, mostly because he manages a high level of caring. He might not seem very joyful, but he is very rich with relational wealth and fulfillment internally and externally.
It’s not about faking caring, but finding caring.
You can practice your caring, just like anything else.
Attaching ourselves to the outcome makes things more difficult. It is not good or bad.
Experience vs result. If you had to pick between experiencing these without ever knowing the result (like above). Or only knowing the result without having the experience, which would you choose? This can even be asked about watching the experience, like in a movie.
Most people I speak with seem to value the experience of it more.
We truly don’t know if the result (outcome) is even good or bad long term.
For example: A rejection for a raise could very well lead you to leaving that company for a better company where you end up learning unique skills that enables you to start an innovative startup.
Or an approach of a stranger could lead to a phone number, but then to a 5 year romantic relationship that ends horribly and you "wasted" 5 years.
These can switch back and forth to what we perceive as good or bad.
For instance, after that horrible 5 year relationship that person finds a soulmate in their ex’s coworker that they never would have met without that bad relationship which leads them to live happily ever after.
My point is a great outcome from an interaction doesn’t mean that it’s good long term and a bad outcome (getting rejected) may have saved you long term from a shitty situation.
Don’t worry too much about the outcome. That worry can enhance and put fuel on the fire on our natural anxiety, especially in those big moments. Then it becomes much more difficult to do in the first place.
I’m not saying to go to the extreme in always being wary about a good reaction and being relieved when something doesn’t move forward socially! But it could make socializing more easy if you can mitigate some of the emotions that are stopping you by using this outlook. Bad isn’t bad and good isn’t good, be open like a good scientist.
Social skills are learnable and you can get really good at them, as we have learned here at Jaunty, but the skills are there so you can enjoy and learn from the experience with other people. -Eric Waisman
Hey everyone! Your March Challenge should be a walk in the park this month.
How’s the social life?
I hope it's going well on all fronts!
For your monthly challenge:
This weekend try to pin a high point to memory that you can use when asked, “How was your weekend?” on Monday. This is a trick I use a lot. By putting some recent highlights in the forefront of your memory bank you’ll have not only more to say on Monday, but something more positive a well.
You can start doing this more and more, not just on the weekends.
Co-Worker: How was your weekend?
Me: Great, I remembered how spontaneous I can be! Some friends and I ended up singing karaoke with dozens of strangers Saturday night, I lost my voice! What did you get up to?
In this case you are also giving them options for answers:
1) connecting with you on being spontaneous
2) Sharing a karaoke experience
3) talking about themselves and their weekend. There are more options they have but you get the point.
You can even get good at seeing the path they chose and use your conversational agility skills to go deeper with them in conversation.
So try creating a little cork board in your head where you can pin recent experiences so you can be open and vulnerable automatically, which will make it easier for the other person to do the same in your presence.
Best, Eric Waisman
First, wow, you guys got me all charged up with your overwhelming responses to the last social challenge of playfully giving someone a task. Great job. And if you still haven’t done it (or know about it) it’s never too late. I ended up telling a cashier at The Market in the Twitter building that she should buy me a latte from the cafe to warm me up as I waited for their faulty credit card reader to work, it was fun, we laughed, it made my day. Speaking of making days...
Small conscious additions in your interactions with people can make a world of difference. The best place to start is by simply remembering that you have choices in your conversations, as opposed to passively hoping you say something worthwhile. As you practice more and more, and learn different types of techniques within your communication, you start developing an arsenal of what we call charisma. Remember the 7 skills that we always talk about?
1. Body Language
3. Conversational agility
4. Play (Humor)
7. Status/Belief System (Confidence)
Ok, you guys wanted more challenges so try this:
Celebrate the approach: So if you have taken some Jaunty training you already have an infinite amount of ways to approach people and initiate a conversation with anyone. This here though, is the opposite. If anyone, anytime initiates a conversation with you (barring a non-safe environment) I want you to “light up” a little extra in the moment. Here is an example:
A fellow WeWork colleague of mine came to my office all the way from the 7th floor (my office is on the 4th floor) to let me know about an interesting event happening up on the 7th. As he said hello and started talking about what was happening on the 7th floor I really engulfed myself in the idea that he came all the way to tell me about this little event that he thought I’d like and it made my day. Unfortunately I was unable to attend, but I made sure to be super happy that he made this approach/invite. I even said, “thanks for thinking of me, you’re rock!”
Your challenge is to add that extra, “you know what, you just made my day,” in your body language or words to another person who initiates an interaction with you. It can be a stronger than usual smile, or widening of the eyes, or a statement.
Give people credit for investing in you. The main way of doing this is to simply continue the conversation with positive body language and engaging conversation. That will be more than enough to let the other person know you were happy they said hello. You can also let them know.
Here are some idea statements:
"You just made my day (week)!”"You just made my day, though!” (if you have to say no)
"Thanks for getting me away from my screen.”
"You’re the best.”
"That’s awesome, will you tell me how it went on Monday?”
Or just simply be a little more excited than usual to be talking with them, this can mean facial expressions and a clearer happier vocal tonality.
Approaches are hard, go reward and enjoy them. There is not enough of that in San Francisco and many more places. It means someone found you valuable in some way, so celebrate it. Let me know how it goes by replying back to this,
Hey everyone! It's a new year so how about a social challenge to kickstart it? Can't wait to hear your stories.
Firstly, a thank you to the 15 people who opened up to me this holiday season about how the holidays are depressing them and other social anxiety issues, many people feel social tension or loneliness throughout the year and it can deepen around the holidays and the new year. You’re not alone.
Thanks for really believing that social skills are learnable. This Jaunty journey is teaching me that no matter what personality type someone may have, our communication skills can always be enhanced and worked on.I know it’s hard to go against the voices that say, “That’s just how you are and there’s nothing you can do about it.” But it’s possible to live the social life you want. I promise. I get messages all the time from our students who have turned their lifestyle goals into a reality.
Also, our January course is beyond filled! I think I’m going to have to find a bigger space for our courses, I can’t wait for this next one, so thank you.
Finally- It's the start of a new year! So I've got a two day challenge for you.
Now, this is a social challenge for you.
In the next 48 hours (from the second you read this) I’d like you to give someone a playful situational task. Extra points if it’s a stranger. This embeds playfulness in your conversation.
Here’s an example: I was recently on a plane traveling solo and as everyone was getting settled in our seat row I was preparing my music. I said to the women beside me, “This is the first time I’m using noise cancelling headphones, so you’re in charge of making sure I don’t miss any important announcements OK?” She laughed and said she’ll probably be sleeping through all announcements since she just drank a martini.
This task will sure you are more aware of your environment, and may get you used to creating things to say that’s relevant to the moment.
Other ideas:“Make sure Katy doesn’t eat all the free mints, she likes them more than I do!” (to your front desk associates)
“Keep your eye on me and don’t let me get two desserts, k?” (At the company party)
“I might need some help deciding what looks good, you up for the challenge?” (While waiting at the Nordstrom changing rooms)
You get the idea...can you do it? Try to throw these playful quips in somewhere. They are great ways to start a conversation too. You can also turn these into playful questions (this falls under using accusations for humor):
“So you’re the one in charge of making sure no one eats ALL the free mints huh?”
If you think you can do it, you’ve got 48 hours.
Written by Eric Waisman
I was having dinner with a Professor of Social Sciences in Berkeley and something she said turned my sense of time and progress gears in overdrive.
Aside from being extremely charismatic she has a thing where she says the right thing at the right time constantly. When I mentioned I was feeling a bit too old to be serious about my music and was wondering if I should really create albums, rather than give her opinion she told me that she had asked herself a question when she felt too old to get a degree from a University, “Do I want to be a 45 year old with or without this degree?” She ended up getting the degree and hasn't looked back since.
This has since been the question I ask myself when wondering if I should go after something. It’s actually a really biased way of asking it because it may take away the opportunity cost in the equation, however it makes things a bit clearer and motivating for me.
What’s cool is that you can mess with the timing as well. In the above example she asked herself as a 43 year old and added the two years it would take to get the degree. It's also fun to ask yourself while adding a longer time horizon. For instance, a 25 year old can ask, “Do I want to be a 60 year old with or without offspring?,” which is different than the more difficult question like, “Do I want kids?” This person may realize they would love the last 30-40 years actually having kids and grandchildren come visit them.
This can be with anything, as time is on your side if you use it right. “Do I want to be a 40 year old with a great set of friends or without?,” which can lead to approaching new people or “Do I want to be a 50 year old that did write a book or do I want to be a 50 year old that did not write a book?” I think the sense of, “I really don't care,” can come through which can also help you make a decision.
I used to ask myself this at the end of week about meeting new people and I am glad that I did, as it paid enormous dividends later on.
Find a goal and play with the numbers. As for our first album, we just released it (The Blind Stares) let me know what you think!
Written by Eric Waisman
The holiday season is here, how are you feeling about all of these get-togethers and parties? Are you excited to mingle, or are you excited for it to be over with already? Either way, I hope you get invited to some great events and have many options for some social time.
It’s been a crazy few weeks for me as I have been traveling as well as having my girlfriend move in and we still managed to hit one of my best friend’s holiday party, and it was really fun. My buddy has a sweet apartment overlooking the SF Bay and as we walked in the apartment I said a couple of hello’s to people I knew and to some I didn’t. But what happened next made me feel great. I saw my buddy and he gave me a warm hug and a loud hello and we all poured ourselves a drink from the rum concoction he made in a glass jug. It was delicious. He introduced my girlfriend and me to a group of his friends who I didn’t know. A minute or two later one of the women said loudly, “OHH this is the Eric I heard about.” We all laughed and exchanged some fun stories and the night really took off from there.
How do you think that would make you feel? A stranger being a bit excited and wowed at meeting you…in front of everyone. Damn good, that's how! So why and how did this happen? Well, my friend is a great storyteller. In fact I think he is better than me. But he knew I was coming to the party and threaded me in some of his stories and conversations he was having before I arrived, and maybe even in some prior interactions with that person in the past.
Something we emphasize in our social skills courses at Jaunty is raising other people’s status. One way of doing this is speaking highly of someone by using examples, compliments or opinions.
So here is the point: If you have friends, or family or co-workers who you spend a lot of time with, recognize that there is a high chance that newer people that you meet, or other important people that you have in your life will probably meet them at some point. So talk them up subtly, this is a very charismatic thing you can do with your conversational skills. When they do finally meet in the future you have set up a really cool dynamic. Also, if your friends have brought up and spoke about someone you have not met yet, and you finally meet at some point give them the gift of, “OHHHH so this is the Eric!” They will never forget it.
Written by Eric Waisman
I hope everyone is doing well. It’s been a while huh? Looks like I’ve slacked off writing you in August and September. I blame me, but maybe we can make that an attractive thing, let’s find out.
I was having a deep conversation with a new friend in the middle of a Nevada desert and he was telling me his life story, it was a story of success, and adventure and a life most people only dream of. Later on in our conversation he mentioned, very matter of fact like, that he overcame two dark periods of his life of alcohol abuse and a strained family relationship. He then said, “We are how we react.” And that hit me like a ton of bricks. He blamed himself (took responsibility) for the dark times too. My friendship and connection to him felt like it shot through the roof.
My point is that blaming ourselves for our mistakes can be way more attractive (and productive) than blaming others. Sometimes people don't realize they are blaming someone or something else because it is so general of a thing (i.e., blaming the economy as the reason you have a job you hate.) And yes, there are times where other people or things do deserve blame, but keep this in check.
The beautiful thing that we don't usually realize is that if we take some or all responsibility, and work on the challenges in our life it not only makes us wiser, but also importantly, it can shorten the duration of the "mistake"…and humans are forgiving. Most people won’t even know unless you talk about it. But let’s find a worst-case example of a lot of people finding out. David Hasselholff!
David Hosselholff has had a killer career. He also had a killer “mistake” of alcoholism, where one short video changed how we may have viewed him forever. However he took full responsibility and took on the challenge of cleaning up and if he walked into a room that you were in you’d probably feel a positive excitement rather than shame. He’s awesome! His career continues to boom. One could argue the bout of vulnerability and infamy made him better in some ways.
Today we are as harshly as ever blaming others and the world around us. And WORST of all we then actually start to take our frustrations of our mistakes and poor life navigation moments out on other people, even people we don't know. I am hoping and asking that we can look at low moments in life as a positive stepping-stone, in ourselves AND support it in others. Something I see a lot of with our students here at Jaunty is that it doesn’t take long to get on a great track…and most people will never even know (or care) about our past shitty tracks.
By Eric Waisman, Jaunty's Founder
First off, thanks to everyone who attended my first rock show! We had a blast and I was blown away by how a large crowd influenced the energy and the experience.
I’ve been thinking about songwriting lately and our songs are kinda obscure and they change and pivot in many places, not really sure we have a common structure. So I looked up what most people’s songs are about and it looks like heartbreak takes the cake. I then connected this to my dear friend Jason Hreha’s article about loss aversion. You should check out his stuff, it's my go-to for updates on behavioral science.
In as few words as possible, losing something usually hurts us MORE than gaining something (of equal value) makes us feel good. So if you were swimming in the ocean and you had a $100 bill in your pocket and realized you lost it, that pain is way more intense than the good feeling of swimming in the ocean and finding a $100 bill.
So, being at Jaunty I related this all to relationships. The build-up of meeting someone new is a really great experience. Learning about their humor, fun quirks, possible business deals and views on the world feels pretty magical. But still, it is more of a gradual buildup rather than an amazing feeling all at once. It requires some investment and time. Now losing someone, on the other hand, has the chance of being very quick. Though losing someone could be a gradual decline in the relationship, it can also be a bad fight, a better deal or offer from another party, or even a death.
Loss aversion is a very powerful system that led to our survival. Today many people are so worried about losing their job that it paralyzes their motivation to pursue their hobbies, or true passions. My thought on hedging this is by somehow making the relationships you have or that you are creating feel as good as possible. I am still playing with this but doing more fun things with them or consciously checking in to feel happier when with them may help. Having positive and exciting experiences with people you care about can embed quick hits of a connection that feels a bit more memorable. A big part of this is how you connect with them within your social interactions, using of course, your social skills. For instance, can you remember to be silly which may lead to something funny where you both laugh uncontrollable together in that moment? Now, there is no way around grieving a loss, and by no means can anything fill that unique gap of losing someone but maybe more constant flooding of positive feelings with others can help us move on more smoothly.
This week I decided to really start checking in with people who are/were important to me. In fact Jason and I are planning to start monthly get-togethers where I hope I get to connect with people that I have been meaning to. I’ll probably invite you soon!
Of course the ultimate goal is not to lose relationships, but sometimes this can't always be the case. So get out there and pay attention and add extra emotional elements in moments you have with people like added laughter, adrenaline, touch and love so that in case you lose a relationship, as hard as it may be, you really can also hedge it with positives from other relationships. And then, as our Jaunty alumni know, the ultimate hedge is having as many people as you can handle already there.
I recently was in Austin, one my favorite US cities. I stayed with a good friend who can do anything, from guitar building to running a podcast to starting a company. He’s really inspiring. I recommend hanging out with people like that as much as you can.
In addition to his vintage camera he snapped this moody pic with, he has a 1940’s Royal typewriter sitting in the middle of his living room. It weighs a ton. I asked him about it and he explained it’s where he writes his songs. “It has no delete button, oh, and also the Q doesn’t work so you need to use the O and draw a tail on it after,” he said.
Vintage stuff is cool looking and romantic, but there is another important reason the manual typewriter is so effective. “It changes how I write for the better, “ he added.
I tried it. He gave me a prompt and I started typing away. I made a lot of mistakes but I kept going. Quickly, for the first time in my life, I was in the flow during creative writing. It did change writing for me, I can attest to that as I am struggling writing this in front of an eye-irritating screen. So I picked one up off Craigslist and write for 10 minutes a day.
Here’s my point and my challenge for you:
Pick one thing that you love doing, and:
Step 1: Make it super convenient to do that even the laziest person in the world has no excuses.
Step 2. Revisit step 1. Often.
Example: I play guitar. Therefore I have a guitar two feet from my desk, at eye level, at my office and at home.
This can be done with anything. It doesn't matter if it’s a sport, being social with friends, traveling, or even sex. The key is to start on one thing. Spend as long as you need getting that thing dialed-in. Then, you can add another.
This is a big part of Jaunty's approach to social intelligence. Immerse with accountability until it becomes second nature, it might even become easy. Try it out.