Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Gervais Principle II - POWER TALK vs POSTURETALK vs GAMETALK




Venkat over at ribbonfarm.com has done it once again. This time focusing on the different types of language dynamics between Losers, Clueless, and Sociopaths.

I highly recommend the reading of this article, and if you have not read the First Installment of the Gervais principle (The office according to the office) you should read it first.  It's a little long but its also long on awesomeness.

Here is an excerpt from the new article:
Among our three groups — sociopaths, clueless and losers (I have to figure out a capitalization convention), we have four unique languages. Powertalk is the in-group language of the sociopaths, and that’s what we’ll talk about in this post. Posturetalk is the language spoken by the clueless to everybody (they don’t have an in-group language since they don’t realize they constitute a group). Sociopaths and losers talk back to the clueless in a language called Babytalk that seems like Posturetalk to the clueless.  I’ll cover Posturetalk and Babytalk in the next installment (if there is one).  Among themselves, losers speak a language called Gametalk. This is the only language that has been properly studied and documented.
The first is that you have to decide what tactics to use and when, based on a real sense of the relative power and alignment of interests with the other party, which the losers and clueless typically lack. This real-world information is what makes for tactical surprise. Otherwise your application of even the most subtle textbook tactics can be predicted and easily countered by any sociopath who has also read the same book. Null information advantage.
The second reason is that tactics make sense only in the context of an entire narrative (including mutual assessments of personality, strengths, weaknesses and history) of a given interpersonal relationship. The clueless have no sense of narrative rationality, and the losers are too trapped in their own stories to play to other scripts. Both the clueless and losers are too self-absorbed to put in much work developing accurate and usable mental models of others. The result is one-size-fits-all-situations tactical choices which are easily anticipated and deflected.

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