The suspense is over! Class is back in session!!
Here's today's musical background:
Yeah, huh? Or this one. You know, whatever.
"Artisans don't spend much time worrying about morality or morale, and they have only a passing interest in devising technology (the concerns, respectively, of the Guardians, Idealists, and Rationals.) But they are always interested, even preoccupied, with the acquisition of technique. In regard to this distinction between SP technique and NT technology, it is necessary to understand that, although the two resemble each other in a superficial manner, they are fundamentally different. Both are derived from the root "tech" which means they have to do with effective building, but they are entirely different ways of building. Technology is the theoretical study of method, technique the empirical perfecting of method. And this is where the Artisans shine. No matter what the cost in time, energy, hardship, peril, or expense, they must perfect their repertoire of techniques."
Acting, voice skills, writing, athletics, improvising in all areas, adapting and reacting to situations - a lot of the stuff we've already talked about before - these are the areas where I have learned and perfected techniques, almost always through trial and error.
One basic thing that comes to mind that I have improved on is my techniques with people on the phone at my office. I have been in the office since May 2005, and during that first year, I got caught by a scam that cost us money on toner for our copier/fax. What they would do is have one person call and say they were calling from "the copier company" and needed to check the model type on the copier. And also asked who was the one who ordered the printing supplies. Well, the first time it was somebody else who answered the phone and gave them that information, so when they called back, they asked for me. The story they gave was "the price of toner for your Toshiba 3200 (or whatever it was) is going up, but I can send you one more shipment at the old price." Not being aware of the fact that all of our toner is included in the monthly service contract that we have, I went ahead and agreed to the order of toner.
At that time our company president was still paying the bills herself, and when that invoice came across her desk, she paid it, so of course this "data systems" company realized they had a fish hooked so they were going to try it again. Armed with my new knowledge the next time, I would not fall for it, though. Now when someone calls and asks for the copier information, I ask them "what company are you with?" Usually the response is "your copier company", so I say "what company is that?" At that point, they hang up because they know they are not getting the scam over on me. Obviously, operations like that stay in business because there are a lot of companies where they talk to some receptionist that is clueless about how the supplies are paid for (as I was the first time) so they can easily convince someone who doesn't ask them enough questions.
I have saved myself a lot of time at work by learning better questions to ask telemarketers and other folks to quickly determine if the call is legitimate or not, and not have to go through a long time-wasting process before I can let it go. So the office phone area is one place I can see a real improvement in my technique.
When it comes to the stuff like drama, radio, internet role-playing, sports, all that stuff I talked about in the arts section, so much of it is timing. Learning to respond quickly to what is presented in the given situation is a trial-and-error process where you have to have some sort of response or tactic first even it's a lousy one, and you figure out what does and what doesn't work, and do your best to repeat the stuff that does. Learning from each little missed opportunity, where you let the soccer ball get past you into the goal because you misread the movements of the striker, where next time you will see it just a little bit sooner, judge correctly and get a hand on the ball to knock it away before they can score. Where last time a joke fell flat because you ordered the words a little wrong or your timing was a bit too late, or you didn't have the right facial expression or vocal inflection, but you keep trying it and then you get it where you nail it every time. Heck, driving in traffic, where you keep missing your exit because you can't get over into the lane fast enough, maneuvering through the cars from left to right, but you learn the patterns and to read the cues to see the openings and then hell yeah not only did you make it there, you were smooth doing it too, so eat my dust!
Parenting is of course another area where techniques is a huge part of it. My son can be the annoying scam artist or the soccer striker, or the bad traffic, or the tough audience, and every day and every encounter and situation is an opportunity to learn which buttons to push, which rewards and punishments and responses yield the best response, and which are best not to try again. I had to learn there are times when the most effective reprimand is silence, and times when the point needs to be made vocally and sometimes loudly. It's like a sports coach who has to know when to get in his player's faces to motivate, and when to back off a bit and let them find their own motivations based on their own desires for success. My son is a very intelligent 9-year-old, and most likely another Artisan, and I know full well from my own experience, that too much in-your-face and he is simply going to tune it out or be more determined to act to get a negative reaction. I have to be able to let him see the consequences of his own actions sometimes, and let him be the one that takes the proactive position to make a situation change by altering his tactic.
Next up, we'll talk about the tools of the trade, i.e. equipment.