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|Neononverbalizationizing: The New Science of Silence |
Scientists have long known that people talk too much and listen too little, and indeed much of the general public is beginning to catch on to it as well. Go anywhere and ask anybody if this is not true: you'll get an earful. But you won't listen!
The best way to get smarter -- quickly -- is to close your mouth and keep it closed, as many an old joke and proverb go. But keeping one's mouth shut can be extremely difficult. It can actually be easier to close someone else's mouth. But we can't have that, because somebody's got to do the talking. Otherwise we're just standing there.
Nobody likes silence. It's uncomfortable. Even deaf people don't like silence. They'd rather flutter on about nothing. It's what people have always done in all cultures through all time. This chatter is part of socialization, but because it's our most readily available tool, chatter is always loaded with subtext (lies) for the purpose of disguising insecurities. Chatter is how we chisel out our version of the truth. And the truth is, frankly, we're better than you.
Therefore, he who fears his chest is concave will know more about sports than you. She who fears she's ugly and undesirable will talk shockingly dirty in mixed company. All of us, if we're allowed to go on too long (which is rarely permitted), will keep spinning wool into gabardine until there's nothing left of us but a pile of dirty laundry -- our own -- for your examination.
Keeping our mouths shut is a lesson most of us are doomed to learn over and over for the rest of our lives. But with proper training you can achieve mandibular compression for extended periods and become the one person remaining in the room whose self-respect is still intact while the other dingleballs are still yimyammering away about beauty schools and pitching stats.
Neononverbalizationizing is all about the conversion of negatives to positives, of turning disadvantages to advantages. When your opponent pushes, you pull. Using his own momentum, you yank him to defeat. This can all be done with out uttering a word. All you have to do is know how to wiggle your eyebrows.
I fell on all this when I was getting people to open up on video. It's frightening what people will admit to in the presence of a willing ear. Even with a camera rolling.
I found that I could twist my face to say all sorts of things, like, Really? and Tell me more, and That's unbelievable and No way! and I'm confused, explain slower. All done with eyebrows. I was listening with my entire face.
I began to encourage a random blowhards to let it all out. Such deep holes they dig. And I was right there to nudge them over the edge, with only an eyebrow.
Try my whole face technique at your next party and you'll be the most fascinating person of the evening. They'll call you brilliant and persuasive; you'll lift an eyebrow. They'll insist-- no, no, you are! You'll roll your eyes.
Things get much better from there.
If you're a man, you'll leave with the woman with the implants, but behind her will be three or four enraptured tagalongs, and yours is the short one in the shadows inside the largest coat you've ever seen where there is buried a rare gem whom you'll impregnate through eye contact, scoundrel.
If you're a woman, you'll go home to your cat, thank you very much, since you might be shy but you're no slut, and before you even put the key in the door you'll hear the end of one message and the beginning of another -- call after call, one after the other -- marry me and I'll give you Monoco, camp with me on the beach tonight, let's go to Arby's -- the first one you call back is Mr. Wright.