Wednesday, October 16, 2013

10 ways you can 'fake it'

Faking it.  You know.  Trying to seem in the know when you really aren't.  Sometimes it happens when you are at work, sometimes at home.  Most of the time, it's not bad, it's just you trying to keep your little mental boat afloat when it seems to have been caught in an eddy.  Some people are SO good at this, they achieve middle management, where they are either forced to get IN the know, or move themselves from job to job every time they are found out by someone with more authority than they have.  Here is your guide for faking it in all kinds of situations.

10.  Half hearted laugh - the half laugh is not really a laugh at all in the humorous sense.  It's either an indicator of association so as to say 'yeah, I've been there' or it is a sign of derision to say 'I know exactly what you are talking about, that sucks'.  You use it when you come into the middle of a conversation that people think you are somehow included.  Rather than uncomfortably leaving, you snort your acceptance and listen on hoping to get some inkling of what is going on.

9.  Bold Bluster - Risky.  VERY Risky.  When you see your authority being questioned and you aren't sure how to save face, you bloviate about how there is no organization from within the ranks you command.  More organization!  That's what we need!  Better signals people!  Where is our follow through!  More of these semi-sport related management phrases that seem to apply to the situation.  What's the real problem?  Who cares.  If you say one of those three things and look carefully at who nods (a junior faker).  You'll be able to find who you need in meetings to continue to support your fraud.  WARNING.  If you pull this in a situation that calls for none of those things say for example a blatant sexual harassment suit that is looming, you will find yourself encouraged to find new venues for middle management.

8.  Uh huh - vague acceptance.  Best on the phone for conversations that you really haven't heard or don't care about.  the Uh huh is the sprinkling of water on the dying plant of your conversation that will keep it alive just long enough to keep you out of trouble.  Warning.  Uh huh does NOT work when you are suddenly asked a question like 'So what did he say to you when I left?' after the story I told that took the last 20 minutes?.  Unless, of course,  you are really looking to shorten the conversation.

7.  Ask and Answer - Sure you can't use it in a court of law, but in the court of faking it, ask and answer has a lot of value.  You ask yourself a vague question and then answer it.  It is best used in the course feigning  trying to understand a subject so that your counterpart will either catch you up because you 'misunderstood' or will agree with you affirming that you are in the know.  Example:  'So you're saying he completely decided to cut you out of that loop? or...' , 'No, what I'm saying is that he lied about the whole thing'  'OH!, I see now, yes'

6.  The catch up - Thanks to the cell phone we have an instant excuse to turn a minor faux pas into a major faking it win.  If you've been dozing off in the meeting but you need to know what's up, you pretend that your phone has been silently ringing and announce to everyone that you have to get this.  You then come back and inform the meeting that you apologize and please get you up to speed.  This is a double bonus because you look REALLY busy AND you just get the high points of the meeting.

5.  Wolf amongst sheep - So you are at a party with some friends and you quickly realize that you are the only conservative amongst liberals, or the only DC comics fan amongst Marvel fans.  This is about not completely alienating friends until they see you as a friend with a different opinion instead of one of 'them'.  The key here is common ground and distraction.  We'll use the Conservative amongst Liberals example. Them: 'So I really think Obamacare will fix what's wrong with this country, I can't believe those republican's can't see that'.  You:  'Yeah, it's pretty amazing that most of it was taken from Utah and Massachusets...pretty wierd'  as you turn to the chip table and grab a generous handful of chips and dip and keep your mouth full of corn instead of words.  Bottom line, find your common ground and give nothing more.

4.  Sport guy - According to beer commercials and the Internet, all men should inherently know about manly sports.  Inside this means intimate knowledge of Football/Basketball and sometimes baseball.  Outside of the US it means knowing about Soccer and Cricket.  The key here is knowing some of the buzz words and a little bit of derision in your voice.  Let's make football our example.  They guys are talking about 'the game' complaining about the play.  You listen for a blank spot and then you say '[Team A] really needs to be more organized in the Secondary, they just let too much get away'  Much like 9 the bold bluster, you are now using business terms to augment your appearance in football knowledge.  90% of the time any team will need the same kinds of things that business needs.  This is really going to be the same for any of the other sports, you just need some very spotty knowledge of the sport and apply a business metaphor to it.  Bang!  you're in like flyn.

3.  Getting Clarification - You're in the company, but you really don't know how to do what you've been hired for.  In fact you know it will take you so long to get up to speed, you need a real boost but you can't ask anyone there because it got out that you are actually getting paid for this job and you aren't an intern.  You casually go to the person that you estimate has the most knowledge about the thing you need to do and casually ask 'So on this project, what's the standard operating procedure?  How do we do it here?'  Nobody could possibly be expected to know what happens in a specific situation.  You get an example of what needs to happen and boom, you get a road map for what you should be doing.  The danger here is going to the well too many times.  You really can't play this card too many times before you are found to be a fraud, so make it good.

2.  The OTHER family wingman - You are at the other family reunion.  You've been a few times, but honestly you still really aren't sure who is who.  They know you and they have you at a disadvantage.  Some are gracious and continue to introduce themselves, others just talk to you like you should completely know who they are.  At this point your best bet is to not let your better half out of your sight, they are now your wingman.  That way they can make the absolute naming reference to each of the relatives while you quietly re-assert the association, and all you have to do now is take the association to indicate that you are aware of them and care.  Example.  Wingman 'Oh Uncle Frank and Aunt Gladys, it's so great to see you this year!' YOU: 'Great to see you Frank, how is ice road trucking treating you?'

1. TV Talk - Often at the office the TV shows of the prior night will make or break your banter relationship.  Early on there was literally no way to include yourself into the story arc because the only way you could gain entry was to borrow videos from that one guy that video taped everything.  Yeah how's that guy feeling now?  Kinda dumb because you can watch just about everything now just by having the internet.  So once you realize the you've missed the boat you just pull up the old episodes on the internet and catch up so that by next week you're wondering what the writers were thinking like you've been there since the pilot.  Technically you aren't faking it here, you are just catching up but close enough.

What, you think I missed something obvious? Ok, I'll admit, this whole blog is probably faking it.  But the day has not yet expired and I made my self imposed deadline.  Give me 15 days give or take, and I'll give you 10 things.

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