Tactics Tuesdays: Making a Point


making a pointIf you saw The Dark Knight, you probably noticed that Heath Ledger's Joker was an extremely captivating and, despite his villainy, charismatic character. And if you've wondered why that is, as I did for some time after first seeing the film, a big part of it revolves around his success at making a point.

The ability to make a point is an ability you won't hear most people talk about, because it isn't one that most people think much about or often even recognize exists as a distinct skill set. But it's a very powerful ability to have, and it's one that aids you enormously in just about every facet of your life. Particularly, with women.

How exactly do you define "making a point," and how to do you get better at making one? And, on top of that, why is it so useful a skill to have? I'll touch on all that and more in today's Tactics Tuesdays post. Do note that this a more advanced technique, and you'll probably need at least a few years of actively picking up girls (or experience in some other similarly intensive enterprise with high social exposure) to start doing this one.

 

The Point About Making a Point

In the scene near the beginning of The Dark Knight, where Ledger's Joker first walks in on the city crime bosses and sits down to make his proposition (he'll kill the Batman for half of everything the mob's got), the meeting starts to spiral out of control when one of the crime bosses there insults him and everybody laughs. At that moment, the Joker is in very real danger of losing his handle on it if he doesn't do something dramatic to regain the upper hand. So, he launches into something seemingly completely off-topic:

“Look, listen. I know why you choose to have your little group therapy sessions here in broad daylight. I know why you're afraid to go out at night: the Batman. You see, Batman has shown Gotham your true colors, unfortunately. Dent, he's just the beginning. And, and as for the television's so-called plan? Batman has no jurisdiction. He'll find him, and make him squeal. I know the squealers when I see them and... [points at Lau]”

The feeling of the meeting instantly changes, and the mob starts asking the Joker about his proposal.

What happened? How'd he regain power and respect so firmly in a conversation that had shifted against him?

There are a couple of different abilities at play here that are crucial to being able to turn around ailing situations before they explode. They are:

  1. The ability to recognize when the feel of a conversation is shifting against you
  2. The ability to understand why it's shifting against you
  3. The ability to cut to the quick and make a powerful, impactful point

Those might sound like some daunting abilities to master, but as it turns out they're not so advanced that it'll take you forever to get them down.

The first bullet is going to take some experience as a conversationalist before you're pinpointing it reliably. As a novice in steering and directing conversations, you'll probably have some intuition about when things are shifting against you - people start not paying attention, making digs at you, or laughing at you. All bad signs, and chances are you know in your gut that they're bad. But you've got to go through them enough times that you reset your fear from, "Okay, what if I take action and make a mistake when things would otherwise have been fine?" to, "Okay, I need to take action or else this conversation's going to go belly up."

Which probably means you need to lose a good number of conversations and realize that you lost control at some point for your brain to fear losing control more than it fears making a mistake.

You can speed up the process by being very aware of when it feels like you're starting to lose control. Your brain will learn a lot more quickly when it realizes you knew you were about to lose control, then didn't do anything. It'll start registering when it happens in future conversations and start prompting you to take action.

The second bullet - understanding why a conversation's shifting against you - is the easiest to grasp, at least logically. There are only a few reasons this happens:

  • People aren't relating to what you're talking about
  • People don't feel like they're learning anything insightful from you
  • People don't know what your point is and aren't interested enough to wait for it

When you see the Joker reset in that example, what he's basically doing is:

  • Talking about them (now they relate)
  • Pointing out things they're doing that they weren't conscious of (insightful)
  • Not telling them his point but saying some very interesting things (feels like he's got a big point coming up - voice tone is also tremendously important here)

In other words, he corrects all three issues we highlighted above.

The third ability needed to course correct conversations where you're losing control is the ability to make a point. This one's probably the toughest part of course-correcting an ailing conversation, because making points mandates you actually are able to point something useful and insightful out to people.

But how do you do that?

 

How to Make a Point People Respond to

making a pointLast week I posted about fighting in a relationship, and I used an example of how I make a point that often shuts arguments and drama down. In case you missed it, that point I make, in the face of a woman who's causing drama, was this:

Now, I say, "Okay, you're fighting with me. I think what's happening is you're feeling insecure and you're trying to break me, so that you can get to feeling more stable and secure in the relationship. But of course, if you break me, then I become weak, you'll lose respect for me and attraction for me, and I'll be a lot less productive or able to get things done in any area of my life, and that's bad no matter how you cut it. So, me being broken is not good, and that's not something I'm going to let happen, and I don't think you really want to have that happen anyway. So this is no good."

Just like what the Joker did in that earlier example, what I did with this statement was I made a point that brought the spotlight onto a behavior the girl was exhibiting - and I explained it for her.

  • Joker: explained to the mob bosses why they were meeting during the day and no longer by night.
  • Example above: explained to girl why she was causing drama and what she hoped to accomplish.

See that? When you can explain someone's behavior to them, you can make a point to them.

Other ways you can make points:

  • Tell people what's going to happen if they keep doing what they're doing
  • Tell people why other people are doing what they're doing
  • Tell people what will happen to other people if those people keep doing what they're doing
  • Explain why something happened in the past that gives a revealing lesson (Malcolm Gladwell does a great job of this in his writing; check out What the Dog Saw for a tour-de-force of this style of making a point)

Of course, to be able to do this in the first place, you've got to understand why people do the things they do, and what happens (or will happen).

 

Knowing the Future, Seeing the Past

There isn't a quick fix for everything, and a conscious, logical understanding of human behavior is one of those things you can't quick-fix your way to success in.

One of the things you get from this site though - from the blog, from the book, from the video program, from the mastery package - is a first class education in why people do the things they do. If you go over this material and plug it into your brain - and you plug it in there well enough you're able to call upon it to start explaining to people why they do what they do - you'll be in an ever-improving position to do this.

You can also make a point about something other than human behavior. You can talk about business, art, education... anything, really. But the one consistent thread that pops up in everything you discuss will be human behavior.

Therefore, this one's the most useful and practical one to get a handle on, point-making-wise. If you can explain people's behavior to them, they will look on you in awe.

You will seem, for all the world, to be able to break down the past into easily digestible chunks, and to be able to look into the future and predict, based on how people behave in various situations, what is likely to come to pass. And much of the time, once you have a solid enough mental model of how people really do behave in different scenarios, you'll be right.

Practice makes perfect, however. Start making yourself explain people's behavior to them, and you'll quickly find you get better and better at this. And remember, salvaging a dying situation by making a point (you can make points in other situations, of course; though, this is the most useful for most men) essentially comes down to three things:

  1. The ability to recognize when the feel of a conversation is shifting against you
  2. The ability to understand why it's shifting against you
  3. The ability to cut to the quick and make a powerful, impactful point

Talk soon.

Chase

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Comments

Anonymous's picture

Great Work


Chase you are insane! the insights you bring are just unmatched, keep up the good work bro :)

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