The Null Device

Tricks of the trade

A list of secrets of various occupations; small, inconsequential-seeming things which make a difference in the perceived competence of the practitioner: (via FmH)
Every actor eventually is called upon to act drunk. Most do this by slurring their speech, stumbling around, and perhaps drooling a bit. This is what a freshman drama teacher calls "indicating." A better way to appear drunk is to act very, very sober. Walk very carefully, and try not to let anyone see that you're inebriated. This is much more subtle and will register on a level the audience won't immediately recognize.
Always put copper grease on the battery terminals after servicing a car. The performance benefit is negligible, but when customers look under the hood they will immediately see that something's changed and thus feel happy to pay you.
In Australia, the butchers have a secret language called "rechtub klat" that they use to gossip about customers without getting caught. The code is formed by speaking words backward. Old-timers could have entire conversations in the language, but these days a core vocabulary of about 20 to 30 essential words are used...
If you can't think of a headline for a story, use one of these three magic verbs: "weighs," "mulls," or "considers."...

There are 2 comments on "Tricks of the trade":

Posted by: Hot Soup Girl Sat Sep 18 13:10:11 2004

The author of that article, Matthew Baldwin (who also has a blog called Defective Yeti) has just started a site on this topic, starting with some 'tricks of the trade' he couldn't fit into the Morning News piece. It's a cool idea.

Posted by: Ben-Baba Ali Gazebo http:// Sat Sep 18 15:35:07 2004

I think those 'bluffer's guide to xxx' books are good value for this sort of thing.