As someone who is happily married, I never do any rejection attempts that might land me on the couch for the night. However, I understand romantic rejection is one of the most painful and personal forms of rejections. So to help people, I did some negotiation and collaboration with my wife, and came up with ideas that would delight and interest her, without hurting her feelings.
For example, if I gave pick-up line rejection requests to girls and they said yes, I would be staring at remorse, regret and possibly worse, with a burning magnifying glass. However, it would be safe and fun to see what happens if I ask girls to critique my pick-up lines. Today, I came up with a tournament game for eight bad pick-up lines. Would random ladies agree to hear them? Or would my pick-up lines, along with my request to share them, be rejected?
Rejection Therapy never ceases to surprise me and be fun. First of all, during my experiment, no ladies pepper sprayed me or threw a cold drink in my face. In fact, it seemed like some of the ladies couldn’t wait to hear my lines. This got me thinking, if the goal of pick-up lines is to be a conversation starter with a stranger, could asking someone to critique a line actually be a good pick-up line in itself?
Second, the winning line was one of my least favorite. Before the exercise, I couldn’t imagine picking up a rock on the sidewalk with that line. This proves one enduring business principle – what you like may not matter to your customers, especially if you and your customers have very different tastes and values. There was one example of a CEO forcing his fashion design advertising team to do a commercial for business attire centered on a suit clad man on a horse. His only reason was because he grew up wanting to be a cowboy. The CEO’s career didn’t last long, and the commercial was even shorter.
Learning: 1. Curiosity is a strong emotion we all share. If you want to get people’s interests, ask them a question that they want answered.
2. If you are in business learn from your customers. They are the ones paying your bills, not your ego. If you are an entrepreneur, read Eric Rie’s instant classic, the Lean Startup. It teaches people how to use customer feedback to make the best product.