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Batman Telltale: Frame Control, Power Moves, and More Learning

I'd like to take some time to have some fun while also pushing myself.

So, to do that, I'll be watching Batman Telltale.

I'm going to put myself in the shoes of our lead protagonist, Bruce Wayne, and do my best to respond to each given conversational opportunity myself. (No looking at the options, and respecting the time limit as if it were a real, live conversation with me as the speaker).

In doing so, I'll learn to be quicker on my feet, and it'll be similar to getting in-field experience, but from home.

I still have a lot to learn. So, if you see any areas where you think I could use some feedback, I'd be happy to read.

Without further ado, let's get into it.

Chapter 2: The One That Got Away

#1. Ordering You to Say "Hello" with the Social Pressure of Group Expectation and Silence

Dent: If only Mr. Wayne, my campaign's largest backer, could have heard that applause he would su--well, there he is! Fashionable and fashionably late as always. Say "Hi, Bruce!"

Bruce: (say nothing, and raise right hand to nonverbally say "hello" instead. Then, look at Harvey as if to cue him to continue)

My immediate response to this one in the moment was, "Go ahead, Harvey (it's your moment)."

But, that feels like it would've been uncalibrated. This new response achieves a less socially abrasive tone without (totally) following Harvey's lead/losing a lot of power.

This is the challenge of this exercise. Answering well the first time around (while in the moment) and seeing how much better your answer could've been once you reflect on it.

Once again, if you have any feedback, happy to read.

#2. Ordering You to Walk with Him As He Puts His Hand On Your Upper Back

Bruce: That's what I want too Harvey, but you know how rough it is out there. We have to shake things up to make that happen.

Dent: Well, we can start with a few hands (puts hand on Bruce's upper back)...hmm? Come on.

Bruce: (continues walking with Harvey while putting his hand on his back too) Oh, hang on (quickly check phone as if something important just buzzed you).

The idea of returning the physical gesture was my quick idea in the moment.

The idea of stopping to check something in order to avoid fully complying with the "Come on" was an idea that came to me upon reflection.

#3. Building Up a Friend/Work Partner When (Needed) Associates Overlook Him

Bob: I'll admit it, Mr. Wayne, I don't know Harvey from a pothole on Main Street. But, I trust your family. If you believe in Dent, we believe in you. After all, whoever you support is a reflection on you.

Regina: And, we trust someone like you to lead this city to greateess.

Bruce: I agree. So, based on what you've seen so far, what do you think of Harvey's plans?

If Bob believes that whoever you support is a reflection on you, then it's likely he has some good things to say about Harvey given that that's who he's chosen to support over Mayor Hill.

Asking a question that invites conversation around Harvey's positives and negatives presents opportunities to (a) highlight Harvey's a good candidate to them if they say good things and/or (b) use frame control to persuasively manage Harvey's perceived negatives.

My initial answer though was "I agree. And yet, I think you'll find that Harvey here is also one of the most capable people for the job. You can trust him. And, I understand trust is earned. You'll see that he'll prove himself in good time."

Not a bad response.

But, if we're looking to get Bob and Regina's buy-in to support Harvey, it's more persuasive to discuss (negotiate) their perceptions than to simply state what I believe and hope that'll be enough.

#4. Skillfully Navigating a Conversation Where You Disagree But Don't Want to Contradict Your Prospect

Bob: Forgive me for being blunt but...one man can't save this city. And, it's a dangerous mentality to think so. That's how you get creeps like this...Batman.

Bruce: Maybe you're right. I'd also say it depends on the man though. Maybe not a man who's fighting to save this city. But, a man who's looking to give and inspire hope within it. One match can be enough to light the darkness. And, sometimes, that can be enough to spark great change.

My first, initial response was, "Well, then it's a good thing Harvey has a good team behind him..." and then I immediately stopped myself.

I was in "pitching mode" trying to secure their vote and it was making me unpersuasive :).

When I went into conversation mode, I let the frame control do the work and the new, more thought-out response is better.

*Note: It seems that when I try to imagine what a social strategist might say, I overthink and get mentally stuck. But, when I think about what I could say as a "teacher" to give value with my response (maybe insight/information), it becomes far more effortless. I'm more persuasive when I'm seeking to help and I'd like to practice/explore that more.

#5. An Associate Uncalibratedly Goes Too Personal, Too Bluntly

Regina: After all your parents did for this city...to be killed in a botched robbery in some alleyway...It was terrible. Truly terrible.

Bob: A tragedy like that at such a young age, must have been crippling.

Regina: If only that...deranged man..had gotten the right treatment maybe...Well, I don't like to think about "maybes." And I'm sure you don't either.

Bruce: Well, I like to think that their memory can serve as a reminder of what kinds of cruel things can happen in this world if we don't take action. And, it's by taking that necessary good action that we can make sure a tragedy like that never happens again. That's why I'm happy to be doing this good work with Harvey.

My first attempt wasn't quite as smooth, but upon retrying with that "teacher mindset" (which seems to work well for me), I came up with this.

As long as I'm careful not to power move anybody by pushing them into a student role, I think this might be an attitude that works for me (sometimes).

#6. Girl Implies You've Been A Sucker In Win-Loses All Night Long

Vale: Well, Bruce, you've been going around pleasing everyone tonight (win-lose frame: you please them, they give back nothing). But how are you doing?

Bruce: Well, I wouldn't say I've been going around pleasing everyone. We've all been making each other happy, having a great time together (win-win frame: we please each other), wouldn't you say?

#7. Your Friend Makes an Unfriendly Joke

Vale: Is that...blood? Yeah...It looks like...

Bruce: Yeah, cut myself shaving.

Harvey: What, your butler didn't help you this time?

Bruce: (glares at Harvey)

Harvey: Hey, kidding, kidding.

Bruce's handling of the situation was actually very good, in my opinion. No notes.

Only felt like logging it because:

  • It shows Harvey's poor social skills at times: he probably thought it was a funnier joke in his head than out loud. And, from the quick backtrack, it's almost as if he understands that Bruce is no doormat and will take action on certain disrespect. (First time watching, it also felt like a joke to push Bruce down by framing him as "incapable" in order to get more interest/attraction from the girl, but it also seems like the kind of poor joke he'd tell in a group whether girls were present or not.)
  • I could've been Harvey without TPM: telling poor jokes that do more to harm my relationships than anything else, I'm grateful for PU and TPM.

#8. Your Friend Speaks and Leads For You

Harvey: Excuse us, Ms. Vale.

Bruce: (stays and talks with Ms. Vale a little longer)

If you want Bruce to leave with you, OK. But, ask or, better yet, leave and trust your friend to be a good friend and keep your private political dealings private.

Don't assume the close. That's power-taking and annoying.

#9. Your Friend Disrespects You, Your Reputation, and Your Home

Bruce: And, what kind of business do you think he's in?

Harvey: The one that controls enough votes to get me into ciy hall. This is the necessary evil of politics, Bruce. It's in the service of a better Gotham, for all of us. At least hear him out before you kick him out.

Bruce: Harvey, you invited a known criminal into my home, without my permission. And, allowed him onto our campaign without telling me. I don't appreciate that. And, I'm quite frankly surprised that you would do something like that behind my back.

Going assertive is definitely the appropriate action here.

How can you expect Harvey to respect you and your boundaries when you let him cross them like this without saying a word to him about it?

Addressing it wise for encouraging better, friendlier behavior from him in the future (if possible).

#10. Your Friend Gives You a "Word of Warning"

Harvey: A word of warning, Bruce? Play nice.

Bruce: Hang on, Harvey, (frame surfacing) why are you saying that?

A warning, almost leaning into "he could harm/threaten you" territory, is worth addressing. Especially, since he invited that "risk" into your home.


Would be curious to hear what you guys think about this as an exercise.

I'm finding it difficult now because context is revealed gradually rather than being provided upfront for you to make well-rounded decisions. (I didn't know who some of the characters are, their reputations, or their relationships to me.)

For example, Harvey didn't seem like a friend due to some of his behavior, but it's later revealed that we've been best friends for years.

If you have any thoughts, feedback, or ideas on better exercises, please let me know.

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