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Lucio's journal

Quote from Lucio Buffalmano on May 4, 2021, 5:38 am

Yeah, I'd call it "one-upping", but covert aggression wouldn't be too much of a stretch either.

I agree with not pushing the tip, albeit that will probably lead to a smaller total amount of tips.

But, "pushing it" can lead to annoyed customers, fewer people coming back, and lower reviews.

I'd be curious to see a study comparing both approaches, and checking for the difference.

I guess we could go in the middle.
A low-pressure, assertive way of persuasion to get tips like our approach of enlightened collaboration on this website.
It's a variation of the "On Your Honour Gambit" I suppose.

Tour Guide: Absolutely no pressure to give tips.
Give what you think is fair.
Typically people give 5 USD as an amount. (Help people to decide on the normal amount)
Though someone has given me up to 30 USD because he really enjoyed some of the personal advice I shared with him. (Social proof + highlight how he can really add value)
I will come around at the end of the trip and ask you for your thoughts. (Make it personal & apply small social pressure)
Once again, no pressure. (Protect people's freedom)
Any amount of tip will help me continue with what I'm doing if you or your friends choose to come back for another tour. (Signal future value)

Rapport Building Opportunity

Still in the American continent actually, I think that if I had met a French in France that all those talks about France/Italy would have made less sense, since it'd be far more common for local French guides to meet Italians.

Hmmm, this actually makes me think that he could have played up all the commonalities between France and Italy instead of breaking rapport.

Renting Straight From the Dealership

Chances are pretty low you or someone reading here might look into that exact thing, but in case you're in LA and want to rent a (super)car, rent straight from the dealership where you drive just by yourself (what I also suggested in the review).

That being said, mental empowerment is also about not letting a bad apple derail your whole experience and personal enjoyment.
So all in all, it was still awesome.

A picture speaks a thousand words indeed :).
Straight from the dealership, it is.

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Quote from Matthew Whitewood on May 4, 2021, 10:28 aa

Tour Guide: Absolutely no pressure to give tips.
Give what you think is fair.
Typically people give 5 USD as an amount. (Help people to decide on the normal amount)
Though someone has given me up to 30 USD because he really enjoyed some of the personal advice I shared with him. (Social proof + highlight how he can really add value)
I will come around at the end of the trip and ask you for your thoughts. (Make it personal & apply small social pressure)
Once again, no pressure. (Protect people's freedom)
Any amount of tip will help me continue with what I'm doing if you or your friends choose to come back for another tour. (Signal future value)

Rapport Building Opportunity

Still in the American continent actually, I think that if I had met a French in France that all those talks about France/Italy would have made less sense, since it'd be far more common for local French guides to meet Italians.

Hmmm, this actually makes me think that he could have played up all the commonalities between France and Italy instead of breaking rapport.

I like that approach.
Very power-protecting, while also retaining most of the advantages of the "pushier" approach.

And yes, and that is generally true of almost any encounter one can have: you can (almost) always either play up the commonalities or play up the differences.
And playing up the commonalities generally leads to higher (social) success.

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A free man, meets his old bro

Yesterday I went to meet a couple of old friends, among whom was the person who gave me the strategy concept of "brother in arms".

Brother in arms: someone with whom to build an iron partnership to watch each other's back in an otherwise competitive environment (work, streets, but might also be life in general).

It was awesome, and a touching moment even to walk there.

I had to pass in front of the places where I used to work and have lunch breaks.
Waking up early in the mornings really wasn't my thing, and I couldn't help but smile and laugh at every step.

Lots of memories, too.
We used to grind it out and do sales calls from a room without windows.
Once we had to sell a product for the company to survive, and we shouldered that responsibility... While our bosses and the founders had left for the world cup in Brazil (leading from the front... Not 🙂 ).

Some of those days were great, but some not so much.
Especially towards the end, after he was gone, and I changed to some bosses I was ashamed to call "boss".
That's when I decided I was done with small ponds offices, and done with having to hope for some good bosses and colleagues.

It's not a good strategy in life to hope.
If you can, you better be in a place to call the shots.
It's the same concept we apply here to power dynamics and self-empowerment: you can be a naive individual (lamb) and hope to go through life without meeting anyone who takes advantage of you (wolf). But... You're better off not being a lamb in the first place.

Anyway...

Flash forward a few years.

And there I was.

A free man.

Walking to meet his old brother, in his office, in the company he founded.

We had helped each other up.
And there was an obvious, strong feeling of "started from the bottom now we're here".

Some emotional times.

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Quote from Lucio Buffalmano on May 26, 2021, 3:41 pm

Lots of memories, too.
We used to grind it out and do sales calls from a room without windows.
Once we had to sell a product for the company to survive, and we shouldered that responsibility... While our bosses and the founders had left for the world cup in Brazil (leading from the front... Not ? ).

Doing sales calls from a room without windows.
That's not very pleasant.
Looks like the founders weren't that emotionally invested in the company.

A free man.

Walking to meet his old brother, in his office, in the company he founded.

We had helped each other up.
And there was an obvious, strong feeling of "started from the bottom now we're here".

Some emotional times.

Inspiring and emotional.
Nothing like advancing in life with someone you trust.

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Lucio Buffalmano

Thank you, Matthew!

Yeah, it's true, and advancing with some significant relationship along the way makes it a lot better.

Matthew: I realised there's Lucio's journal and this thread.
I guess the difference is that Lucio's journal is more personal.
This thread is more about lessons learned and plans for the website.

Yes, true, there is some overlap.

This is more day to day life events with a lesson learned -albeit not many lessons learned here, more just like a diary-style entry-.

There it's more whereabouts, what's going on working-wise on TPM, challenges and opportunities, what I'm reading, and what I'm planning to read and work on.

So if I had had an update on TPM-related topics, this might have gone there.
But since I had no further update, it ended up here.

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Booked service table at the club: great opportunity to assess people

Once I arrived in Kyrgyzstan there were no social events going on in English.

So... I did one myself.

And I got a bit of a social circle going on -the beauty of the "blue ocean" mindset and skills: you are not dependent on any single "small pond" for social life-.

Yesterday a local girl booked a table at a club for around 10-11 people.

With a table, you get table service.

And people have a chance to:

  1. Accept other people's largesse to eat/drink without returning
  2. Pay less than what they consume -this can range from honest mistake, to being poor (but still not wanting to give up on high rolling night outs) to, worst of all, being an instance of a general value-taking pattern-
  3. Pay nothing of what consumed 

The person who booked the table will be on the hook for any freeloader, of course.
The circumstances and how they do it also tell you a lot -will they start avoiding the organizer, disappear earlier, thank the organizer pretending it's normal that they were going to pay... ?-.

And, on the positive, people also have a chance to:

  1. Accept other people's invite, and offer back (win-win)
  2. Order bottles or platters and invite others (this might be a way to show off as well, but still, I consider it positive show-off)
  3. Leave more money to cover for some freeloaders
  4. Check with the organizer to make sure she's not being left on the hook 

All in all, it's a wonderful opportunity to see who's who.

In this case, the organizer was left on the hook.

P.S.: My Personal Approach

My approach in this case is to avoid ordering at the table.

It almost always leads to a lot of wasted time in accounting for who owes to whom, who's got the change, how to pay back, how to follow-up, etc.

I also don't eat or drink anything from the table.

Instead, I get up, and order my own stuff at the bar.
Great opportunity for walking around as well, take a look at the place, at the people, and potentially meet someone new (or some pretty ladies).

The most hilarious debt-swapping I've ever heard

At the end of the night, one guy who to my knowledge didn't pay his share, was collecting the leftover food to bring home.

I sat next to him, just to exchange a few words.
I was having a good time and not focusing on his actions.
He was, though.

Now listen to this dialogue:

Him: do you have security at your building?
Me: (thinking "such a weird question, where does he wanna go with that") I'm staying at a hotel
Him: yeah, I do, so taking some food back for the guards... It's nice, you know

Well, what can you make of that except of laughing about it :D.

Humans can end up doing and saying some really weird shit to cover up their shenanigans and protect their status.

Basically, he was trying to change the whole dynamics to go from freeloader, to magnanimous guy.

In technical TPM terms, he was erasing his debt towards the organizer, and turning it into some sort of "karma credit with humanity".

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You look like the emcee of some event.

Humans can end up doing and saying some really weird shit to cover up their shenanigans and protect their status.

Some weird shit indeed.
Like a robber claiming to take money to donate to the homeless.

I think being able to travel and socialise on the fly is such an empowering feeling.
Sometimes the language barrier is a bit intimidating if you think of yourself as the "new" guy in an environment.
But, if you let go and enjoy the adventure, it all becomes part of the fun.

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Lucio Buffalmano

Hi @lucio

I wanted to ask you if you would be interested in us exchanging whatsapp or telegram numbers, as sometimes I get my hands on digital material, links, webs, etc, related to power and similar topics, and I may send it to you, if you are ok with that, through that medium.

Hey Stef, I replied to your email -the one you have registered here-.

Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

A quick reflection on:

Reading people & situations, "acting like the owner", & making friends

Interesting little situation just 5 minutes ago in the lobby.

I'm asking the staff if it's possible to order food in the room.

And this guy walking by takes over the conversation, explaining that "of course it's possible, it's the restaurant downstairs, just ask them to call and bring it to you".

My first thought when he started speaking: he might own the place or he's the supervisor.

But that read quickly starts making little sense.
He acts like it, but he's not dressed like it and he speaks a bit too much on the aggressive side to be in the service industry.

Now I split my eye contact between him and the receptionist, asking more questions and clarifications.
But I never fully turn to this guy, even though he speaks and acts like he wants to be the only authority.

As far as I know the most knowledgeable and helpful person for me is the receptionist, so I'm not ditching her for this random guy.

I also notice that the receptionist is not giving him any deferring/submissive signs.
She's not acting like this guy has much power over him.

So that's the final straw against the supervisor initial read: more like he's an annoying loudmouth.

So once he gets into the elevator I thank him loudly (to match his tone), and then ask the receptionist:

Me: (probing type of intonation) What's this guy about, is he staying here...
Her: Yes, and he checks out tomorrow
Me: And it looks like you're quite happy about it (smiles: you can only go this personal if it's with humor)
Her: (smiles) Yes indeed
Me: Ehehe cool (the sub-communication now is "we both know he's an annoying c*nt", and we both know better than him) and about this restaurant...

This is a good example of how an awareness of power dynamics can turbocharge rapport and help you select the best strategies.

Also, an interesting example of the risks of generalizing "laws" in social situations.

The advice of "act like an owner" is great... At the right times and when it's well-executed.

This type of "owner" here, not the kind of guy who does well with others and who "makes friends and influences people" :).

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