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They'll all fall

Friday, February 25, 2005

Eek's Approach Exercise #1

This is a post of one of the pages from my private Wiki. I've kept it in the original form, so there may be some weird references.

Eek's Approach Exercise #1

This exercise is structured for use by a pair of trainees. If you do not have a wingman yet, look at getting a wingman before continuing your training. As usual, the two good guys are labelled as "Alan" and "Bob".

Goal

The goal of the exercise is to get rid of approach fear. Side benefits include:

  • Learning how girls react to approaches in general
  • Getting used to the street venue
  • Integrating and becoming congruent with one or more canned openers
  • Becoming familiar with using canned material

The exercise

  1. Alan and Bob select and memorize a canned opener.
  2. Alan and Bob select a time goal for their exercise. Examples: Walking to a particular location, or doing the exercise for one hour, or approaching ten women each (DO count foreign speakers or those that do not react - you've won over the approach fear anyway!)
  3. They walk slowly down a fairly idle street. While they walk, they focus on alpha body language and looking for targets - and talk together, of course.
  4. First Alan approach a girl (or group) going in the opposite direction or standing still and deliver his opener. He only delivers the opener (focusing on perfect delivery) *and then ejects*.
  5. Next, Bob approach a girl (or group) going in the opposite direction or standing still and deliver his opener. He only delivers the opener (focusing on perfect delivery) *and then ejects*.
Keep exchanging between the two last points until the time goal has been reached.

Sticking points

Here are a few aspects of form that are easy to forget:

  • Using alpha body language even while ejecting
  • Delivering the opener slowly, with appropriate phrasing (pauses, emphasis, etc)
  • Remembering to actually get a reaction when you are using that variation
  • Too much activity in the street, making for a more frightening environment
  • Too little activity in the street, resulting in few targets

Analysis

  • Social pressure is going back and forth, so for Bob there is a sudden increase in social pressure to *do* an approach when Alan has just done one. When Bob completes his approach, the social pressure switches to Alan again. Bob can relax, with no pressure, until it is his turn again.
  • The use of canned material removes focus on what to say
  • Focus on alpha body language adds something to do between approaches, so Alan and Bob has something to distract them from building fear.
  • Focus on delivery when delivering keeps Alan and Bob's attention busy, so there is no attention free to build anxiety.
  • Immediate eject results in disassociation from the outcome.
  • Going for girls that stand still or is moving the opposite direction makes your mistakes "disappear behind you"

Variations

Recommended

You should do ALL of the below variations before you consider yourself through with the exercise.

  • Wait for reaction before ejecting. You *should* run this variation before you consider yourself done with the exercise. Ideally, try to introduce delay to get as much of the reaction as possible as you repeat the exercise. First, however, congratulate yourself on actually being able to do the approaches :-)
  • Extend to actually do some improvised interaction with her before ejecting.
  • Change the opener you use. Do this only after you've worked the exercise enough to be congruent with the opener you already use. Normally, that would be after 10 to 20 approaches, depending on how easily you integrate stuff. I suggest keeping your opener *even if it gives lousy results*, because this allows you to learn how being congruent helps, and being able to go up to a girl even with a bad opener is better than only being able to walk up to a girl if you've got a good opener.
  • Play with crazy ways to deliver the opener. Once you've got the opener in and you're congruent with it, you can start playing with how you deliver it - say, totally widening your eyes, or saying it in a Texas accent, or putting your head in a weird angle. See what reactions you get.
  • Change venue. This is a significant variation, and should be done when you are comfortable with this in the original venue (the street). However, it is essential to get congruent with approaching in any venues, so you should do this variation. In particular, you should do the club variation, where you go into a club, and exchange approaching and delivering openers to every group of girls in the club. This will make you congruent with opening in a club. In a club approach, you should focus on voice projection. Other trainable venues are malls, bars, stores, train stations, etc. Always just walk through and rapidly eject the first time. The very first time you do a bar/club, select a club to WASTE (define that you are never going to go there again), and walk in, deliver an opener to a table, and walk out again, never to be seen there again.
  • Do the exercise alone. It is a very good idea to do this kind of approaching alone, but it is also quite hard. As you get comfortable, you should try this variation. The best way to get into approaching alone is to start alongside a wingman like usual to do get warmed up to approaching, and then split and go your separate ways, opening girls in series alone.
  • Instead of approaching girls going in the opposite direction you do (or standing still), approach girls going in the same direction. This adds the challenge of the girl staying in your vicinity longer.
  • Work more on the body language part: Ensure that your first contact with her is done sideways or over your shoulder to behind, and only open up the body language as a reward for her opening up to you. Specifically: DO NOT GO DIRECTLY TOWARDS HER. Instead, pass by on the side, and turn your head only towards her as you do the opener.
  • Use a situational opener instead of the canned one. (FIXME This variation is not field tested.)
  • Stand still and wait for the girls to come to you, delivering your opener as they pass by.

Neutral

You can do these variations if you like; they're not necessary, but may add variety.

  • If you've mastered alpha body language, do something else that require focus while walking. You're always supposed to be talking together, so discussing what you can talk about when you're with girls later (and prepping the topics a bit) is a good investment of time.
  • Instead of adding a fixed goal, do the approaches for as long as you want to. This is useful when both of the participants has gotten used to doing approaches, and just want some more relaxed playing to get it totally internalized.

Not recommended

The following variations have significant drawbacks, and we do not think you need them. They may be useful in some situations, and you may make them up on your own (I did), so read through them anyway.

  • Doing the exercise with more than two people. This does not work well if two of the people are experienced and one is new, at least. The social pressure becomes too much. (I suspect it might be ideal if the exercise is done with two people at the exact same level from the start - this makes the pressure "better", in a way.) It is OK to do the exercise with more people if you actually get it to work, of course, but our experiences has been that being two is easier.

Comments

This exercise was gold for me (Eek) and Esteanil when we were starting up. It is fairly easy to do, and the factors above made it easy to perform. There may be more factors hidden in the exercise; feel free to add above.

The ideal is that both of you perceive the other party to be at about the same fear level for approaching - so fake that you're more scared than you are if you're having problems with getting the wing in.

I've found shopping streets that people walk through on their way home to be ideal in the time from 1800 to about 2300. After 2300, girls seem to get a little frightened by approaches and give less positive reactions.

For more rapid learning, you can anchor your state after every successful approach. This will let you recall the state easily (and will train you in anchoring to boot :-) I recommend a firm touch between the ring finger and thumb on your right hand for your "confidence anchor" (which this will be part of.)

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