Everyone wants to be an office ninja. It takes years of perseverance and practice to attain the status of one. But to a chosen few, who are exceptionally gifted, this comes easy. I had my moment of epiphany in a train journey . I was reading something esoteric to feel intelligent ( I often do this when I travel ) and stumbled upon the mention of a book that talked about the art of cold reading. It was then that the hidden secrets of managing oneself at work were unveiled to me. For a moment I had the urge to take off my clothes and run out shouting- Eureka! But better sense prevailed and I decided to share my wisdom with the rest of the world.
The most important aspect of winning at work is being able to deliver copious amounts of bullshit consistently at all possible opportunities. Bullshitting, my friends, is an art which is often believed to be a prerogative of the naturally gifted. But what I am about to present here, if practiced well, can turn each one of you into heroes at your respective work places. So, buckle up.
Bombastic bullshitting has its roots in the principles of cold reading. These principles are rather simple and easy to remember. To elucidate them well, I have included practical, real life work situations and examples. I would recommend that readers try to create their own responses to ensure conceptual clarity and complete command on the principles.
1. The Rainbow Ruse : Rainbow ruse involves making contradicting, complex statements , which when processed together mean absolutely nothing.
When to use : Your boss asks your view point while you are catching a well deserved nap in a post lunch meeting.
Example : Well, I would say that option 1 looks very promising. It is potentially scalable and will make a long term impact while ensuring that we do not compromise on our core competence. However, it could also backfire and prove to be myopic under certain circumstances which, as of now, can not be foreseen.
See that ? The statement lets you sound impressive and intelligent without giving anything away ! Very handy. I would recommend extensive practice of this one.
2. The Barnum Statement : A statement so general that it'd fit anywhere. This might sound easy but it's not. The challenge lies in making the statement in a manner that is loaded with profoundness.
When to use : When it is important to contribute and you find yourself having absolutely no clue about what's being discussed.
Example : I think we should work towards increasing revenues while reducing costs or We must keep a close eye on the competitors or We should evaluate our options well before we move ahead.
The beauty of these statements is that everyone uses them and it's a standard practice to accept them as valuable contributions.
3. The Fuzzy Fact : A seemingly factual statement leaving a lot of scope for specificity.
When to use : When you are asked a question in an interview and your first reaction is to ask for options.
Example : The growth of the industry ? Oh, it's grown quite a bit over last year . In fact , it is significantly more than what it was the year before . I must say we are on a steep growth trajectory. Hurray!
Fuzzy facts are my absolute favourites.4. The Sugar Lumps : These statements offer the recipient a pleasant emotional reward in return for the truckload of bullshit that is about to follow.
When to use it : Before a presentation. The idea is to woo your audience and prepare them mentally to appreciate your crap.
Example : Good morning everyone! I believe, we have some of the best minds from the organisation amongst us today. You all have been credited with having unparalleled understanding of marketing consumer goods and I couldn't have hoped for a better audience for this session today. Usually, I am concerned about the comprehensibility of my presentation, but with a group as smart as yours , I can drop my worries .Sugar Lumps are miraculous. Once delivered, you can get your audience to nod intelligently even on blonde jokes.
5. The Impossible Excuse : This is a theory that I have been working on for sometime now. This isn't from the principles of cold reading but was important to cover as it unravels the secret of making the ultimate excuse. The reason most of our excuses don't sell is that almost everybody keeps coming up with them . The idea is to say something so unbelievable, that it has to be believed.
When to use : When you have to go for another job interview and need a day off from work
Example : Dear Sir, I have visitors from Mars in my house and they have threatened to kill me if I didn't get them all the cows from the neighbourhood. I will be spending the day looking for cows and wouldn't be able to make it to work today. Warm regards.
Theoretically , I believe it will work but I am open to testing this if someone can volunteer.
So, that's it ! 5 simple principles to be a star at work. I also have these wonderful purple stone rings that can make you rich overnight. Those interested can get these for $ 50 each. I have no branches . Beware of impostors.
Source of dope on cold reading : The full facts book of cold reading by Ian Rowland
Source of bullshit image: http://thejunction.co.il/