Friday, September 5, 2008

Getting Past Approach Anxiety

Okay, 2-set, HB6 and 8, straight ahead, I should open. I can't walk directly over, it shows intimidation. I need to think of an excuse to walk past them and "randomly" stop and ask an opinion opener. What can I do to walk over there casually without looking like I walked over just to approach them? what opener should I use? Oh crap, I looked at them too long, staled out the set, lost the "spontaneous" of the approach, this one's burnt, I shouldn't be opening this set now.

For the past 3-4 weeks, I felt like I was "getting into my own head" too much as I acquired more book knowledge. It gave me lots of approach anxiety which led me to not open sets at all. That was, until last Wednesday night. Radium and I went out sarging Wed night. We planned to hit up this local wine bar due to their half-off wine special. On the way walking there, I wanted to start being talkative to strangers, so I went with a functional opener with 2 girls walking the same direction, but somewhat behind us.

Set 1:
I stopped and waited 5 seconds for the girls to catch up to us, and said "Excuse me, do you girls know where Cafe [name] is?" They didn't know, and Radium asked "where're you two girls going?" The more talkative one said "we're going to [club name]", and Radium started talking about his awesome experiences in that club, the set was opened. By then, we were walking 2x2 on the sidewalk, Radium walked beside the more talkative one and I walked beside the less talkative one behind them. I looked at my target as Radium and his target were talking about the club, and we exchanged a smile. I asked her for her name, and started talking to her. She doesn't come out much because she has a baby (she's between 18 and 21 yrs old), we briefly chatted about her baby, how cute they are, built some small rapport. We arrived at the club the girls were going to within 3 minutes of chatting, and we shook hands with the girls before we kept on walking towards the wine bar. This helped curing my approach anxiety.

Set 2:
We arrived at the wine bar. We grabbed drinks, walked over to somewhere within proximity of a 2-set, chilled out for a while, chatting, laughing, having a great time. I opened the set with a quick opinion opener: "Hey guys, quick question. He and I made a bet over a game of basketball, and I lost, which means I have to dye my hair. Is it acceptable to settle the bet by me dying my hair black (I have naturally black hair)? The set was opened. One of them is actually a hair stylist, she said it wasn't acceptable, she talked about all the different ways I could streak my hair, etc. She gave me her business card to her salon, and told me to go there when I dye my hair. The whole time, we were talking about the bet and my hair, conversations died down, and we ejected.

Set 3:
We got another drink, came back and the other set was gone, and did the same thing with another 2-set. Radium opened with the same opener as before, but he was more aggressive with his voice tone and body language as he delivered his opener. The set didn't seem very receptive, we got an answer to the opinion opener and we ejected. Radium and I chatted a little about body language and aggressiveness.


Set 4:
As we left the bar, and went through a small park, we saw two fat chicks. I said in a really low voice to Radium: "Dude, I think we'll have to skip this set, I don't think I can bring myself to opening this one, even for practice". Radium opened the set anyway using the same opinion opener. We chatted, and I paid special attention to transitioning. The set seemed receptive, volunteered information, transitioning was fairly natural. A dead end came to the conversation, Radium picked it up with some "boring" questions, such as "where're you from, do you go to school, etc" and the conversation continued. I did a few transitions, multi-threading, etc. The conversation came into another stop, I said "well, it was great meeting you two ladies, and I wish you a good night". We ejected from this set as well.

Set 5:
As we walked down the street to the next bar, we were within proximity of another 2-set, and Radium opened using the same opinion opener. The four of us walked the same direction for a small while. Conversation died down a bit, Radium asked "life questions", and found out the girls were joining the military, Radium picked up the conversation with his experiences at the military, giving the girls advice about it. We stopped at our bar, said our goodbye's, and the set kept on walking to their cars.

Overall Analysis:

  • The Good: No more approach anxiety, opened sets fairly confidently
  • The Bad: Still having trouble keeping the conversation going smoothly, transitioning from one topic to another, etc.

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