When I was in college I had a friend named Doug who was absolutely fearless in the social scene. He could care less that he looked like a drunken hobbit or that his demeanor came off more Ted Bundy and Ted Danson, when it came to picking up women he was Mathiew Mckindagay doing live renditions of Magic Mike scenes at a Catholic School. Surprisingly, Doug did about as well from a raw numbers perspective as any semi-confident dude would, but he pulled women way above his “expected grade”. This isn’t so much different than finding out the pot-head in your high school is now President of the United States.
Since I have been writing about the interview and resume process these past few weeks, I thought I would look Doug up and ask him about his philosophy on picking up women. My hunch was that most of his theories would be surprisingly applicable to career coaching, since having confidence in at least one area of socially acceptable pursuits tends to spread to other areas of life. So with a pen and pad I hopped on the public transit and headed to the bar Doug is currently managing to learn all about the art of shamelessly trying to pick up women. In keeping with my five-bullet point format, here are the two key take-always (more to come) from this titillating conversation:
Be the person you want to be, not the person you are. Doug, a vertically challenged squat man with an intimidating ability to pepper conversation with colorful imagery only South Park fans would appreciate understands that this aspect of him, what he calls his “default mode” is likely not to attract women to his unkempt bed. His solution is to simply not be that man when he first meets women. With time, he eases into being himself but that first interaction is not about finding a long term mate, but rather “getting in the door” if you catch his not so subtle drift. So it is with an interview: the objective is a job offer, not a 20-year career. Be the professional you imagine yourself being, slightly tailored to your audience (so be assertive if that fits your ideal, don’t be Ari Gold). Post job offer and acceptance, it will be up to you to meet the standards set by the you you aspire to be, and keep as much of the doubt, worry, anger, depression or whatnot out of the workplace as possible. This is no different than setting attitudinal personal goals. In this manner, you will not only be coming off (hopefully) as the ideal candidate, but forcing yourself to improve as a professional.
Additional Doug Tips on being the person you want to be:
1) When asked a question, ask yourself, “How would this perfect version of me respond?” Like how Mel Gibson asks “WWJD?” except without how Mel Gibson would answer that question.
2) Create a walk. “It’s all in the walk, the body language” women first see in watching men approach them. If you hobble around like Marty Feldman playing Igor you will be done before you say your first word. If you approach like Don Draper and your words follow your actions, you will be reinforcing their positive first, non-verbal impression. Probably best not to have a drink in hand.
Be a good story teller. “Most people suck at telling stories” Doug tells me, to which I wholly agree. One of the biggest turn offs for me is a poorly recalled “moment of importance”. In our lives, moments that offer profound depth and remembrance are sparingly come upon. An inability to share these moments in a coherent manner is a sign of lacking communication skills and confidence. “I walk over to a women and she agrees to give me the time of day, at least for a moment” Doug says, “I figure I have a small window to make her feel she isn’t wasting her time. If I bore her, or blow a punch line, or misjudge which story to tell I am cooked”. So it is with an interview: somehow your resume landed in the hands of a company that is interested in getting to know more about you. The window by which they wish to know you better is going to be your resume—have a good story to walk them through it. Your story should include all key points and accomplishments (preferably the accomplishments should be woven into the description of your duties, not mentioned separately), and be peppered in with A, B, and C comments that aid your interviewer in forming the opinion that you are a highly accomplished professional with a personality they would look forward to interacting with. The A, B, and C comments are like Mad-Libs: pending on who/where you are interviewing, you would include the appropriate comment. For example, “I came in and made an immediate impact” when interviewing at a company that is in need of a turn around, but “I inserted myself slowly, gently and brought the project to climax” when interviewing at Vivid Entertainment.
Additional Doug Tips on being a good story teller:
1) Don’t be afraid to rehearse, “not everyone has the gift of gab. Look at rappers. Their interviews are prime examples of our failing school system, but they fire off sixteen bars on beat in a freestyle like I put my shoes on in the morning”. Doug is saying rappers talk like illiterates, in case you don’t speak bar-talk.
2) Tell a joke. “Women love humor. Look at Woody Allen, that guy looks like a Jewish Martin Scorsese but he dated Diane Keaton”. Contrary to popular belief, even the stuffiest work environments enjoy a good joke if properly times and tailored. So leave that one about the Rabi, the Priest and Jeffery Dahmer for the bar.
Career advice and finance blogs tend to shy away from applying tips aimed towards non-professional endeavors. Not only is this boring, but it’s a huge oversight. More often than not, people who have sex more often earn more than those who do not. We are wired to desire sex, and since sex is intimately linked to feelings of rejection or success it is therefore a direct contributor to our overall self-confidence. This is why I learned so much about impressing strangers from people like Doug, and why those lessons have transferred to great interviews. Doug pulled women above his “expected grade” because he figured out how to present himself in the best possible light and entertain no matter the audience, possibly why he has done well in the local night life scene (professionally, too). If you figure out the same, you too can pull jobs above your “expected grade”. Just don’t forget to buy me a drink when you land that next big gig.
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 “Cooked” is most certainly the word Doug used, I promise you.