What Game of Thrones Can Teach You About Speaking



A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin is a splendid read that introduces fantastically memorable characters weaved into a masterful plot filled with universal themes based in reality. The TV show adaptation is a worthy effort, thanks to some savvy casting and skillful writing. Characters in Game of Thrones dot the personality spectrum from honest and honorable to rat-bastard scum-baggery.  War is common, and this requires the various families to plan their strategy accordingly. Without delving too deep into the plot, I would like to point out the manner in which many of the characters speak, and I’m not referring to the script, which is determined ahead of time. I’m talking about delivery, and the “game” within the game.  The confidence and eye contact.  The wry smiles. Let’s walk the path and pluck a few lessons:

  • Confidence – Easily the most invaluable weapon in your conversational swordplay.  Notice how many of the major characters, whether lying or not, look their “opponent” in the eyes and deliver a line or two with little to no body language. This makes the person appear powerful, while not giving anything away.  Example characters: Baelish, Varys, Daario Naharis, Bron, Jaime, Tyrion, Olenna Tyrell, Tywin, Daenerys.
  • Revealing Little – Information is worth more than gold or gems, according to Varys.  Think before you speak.  Send the tennis ball back to the other side, and let them make a mistake first.  Never reveal information that is useful unless it is to a trusted ally.  But can anyone truly be trusted?
  • Drinking impairment.  Ever notice how people change when they are drinking a lot of alcohol? Inhibitions drop.  Defenses are eased. Body language becomes unpredictable.  Tyrion and Cersei can out-drink most and use this to their advantage.  Roose Bolton does not drink at all, as according to him it “dulls the senses.”
  • Wittiness – An advanced form of confidence, which takes practice and a bit of intelligence.  When you hear someone address you, try to quickly analyze what they said, and return fire with a quip or joke.  Control your body language.  Smile.  Tyrion is a master of this.
  • Manipulation – can you make people do things…for your best interest?

Apply this behavior to any situation – a job interview, picking up women/men at a bar, speaking to relatives at a wedding.  Practice body language control.  Does your knee constantly bounce in a stressful work meeting? If so, you have lost control. And for the love of the god of tits and wine, stop biting your nails! Photo Credit: HBO

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