Growing up, I was obsessed with Spy novels; John La Carre and Ian Fleming were among my favorites authors.
So, when Neil asked me to come up with some spy-like social games for one of his Society Intensives, I couldn’t have been more excited.
Today, I want to share one of those games with you as an example of something you could go out and challenge yourself to practice.
Here’s one of the missions:
Gain the trust of a complete stranger: Approach someone, and create enough comfort to see if they’ll trust you with something valuable. If they’re willing to loan the item to you, return the item to them later.
It may sound random, but there’s actually a lot to learn from it.
1. The key to starting a conversation is comfort. No one wants to talk to a stranger who makes them uncomfortable. Make sure to speak clearly, give context for what you’re saying, and let them know you’re not sticking around. If you feel like they’re not interested in conversation, simply say, “Pleasure meeting you,” and walk away.
2. Put yourself in their shoes. If they’re uncomfortable with you consider it your fault. Try to see yourself from their perspective: what did you do that made them uncomfortable? What could you do next time to improve comfort levels?
3. Set different types of goals. If you’re studying at Stylelife to meet potential romantic partners, try not to always go out with that goal in mind. Set different goals to learn new lessons. Can you get someone to trust you with something they value? Are you trustworthy enough to return it when you said you would?
4. Push yourself. Sometimes you need to set up challenges for yourself with clear goals and push yourself to achieve them. For example, one of the students, who tried this mission, got someone to offer their wedding ring for the night and another was loaned a $10,000 Rolex. Amazing things can happen when you get out there and try.
Challenging yourself to accomplish specific goals is one of the best ways to learn any art form, but making it fun is an even better way to do it.
Here are a few different games you can play to make practice more interesting:
- Tell a specific story (or use a specific routine) in every set you open.
- Give a friend $100. You get $20 back every time you make an approach.
- Keep a conversation going for 10 minutes by only making observations or asking questions – a technique called bridging.
- See how much money in free drinks you could win using bar-cons.
- Try to get as many people as possible to leave one bar and follow you to another.
- Choose an item to bring with you to a bar, find a way to bring it up in every set you open, in each set you have to introduce it a different way – I used to do this with a 20-sided die from Dungeons & Dragons.
My challenge for you is to come up with a list of 5 achievable goals that you can try and meet the next time you’re out practicing. In addition, think of ways you can make them fun.
Feel free to give any of the above options a shot and let us know how they go – firstname.lastname@example.org
Lastly, remember that social games are cooperative games, not player vs. player. If you ever feel like you’re playing against someone, then you’re missing the point — create comfort, build value, and have fun together!
Here’s a quick video lesson with one more game you can use to test your ability to give meaningful compliments.