Monday, May 7, 2007

that negation kills

I heard this first from a friend of mine who was in a comedy troupe, but its proving itself even more true as time goes on. Negation kills the joke. It doesn't matter if what someone said is true or not, play along and see where it goes.

For example, I was eating out the other day and a co-worker sat down behind me. I didn't notice him till he tugged on the back of my shirt and told me to get him a refill for his soda. I knew he was just kidding around but I still went to the default negation. I said something along the lines of, "I can't, I'm eating" which generated a slightly awkward moment where he had to back out of his request. It would have been far better if I would have said something like, "sure thing, right after I'm done eating." Not only does that avoid the awkward silence, but it gives him an opening for another punchline which may even lead to some witty banter.

So now I know, don't say no. Just make sure your yes is so over the top that no is the only way they can take it. Of course, ignore all of this if you are talking to someone without a sense of humor. If you aren't on the same page it could be taken rather poorly.

No comments: