Monday, December 8, 2008

Life Lessons from Horatio Caine

By: Joseph Norman

We all have our shows on television that we just can't miss. For some, it's 24. Jack Bauer is brilliant and so damn honorable. Others get a kick out of reality TV; American Idol or Dancing with the Stars. They love having the foresight to pick a David Cook from the beginning, or the stubbornness to insist that Kristi Yamaguchi should not have won in 2008. For me, it's CSI: Miami and the character Horatio Caine, played by the one and only David Caruso.

In an interview with the cast of CSI: Miami on the CBS Early Show, David admits the secret behind his scenes; "The glasses are very important, but it's how you enter the frame, deliver the line, and exit the frame." (CBS Early Show Clip). Jim Carrey, in a David Letterman interview confessed his captivation with Horatio's ability to "put the button on those scenes." (Jim Carrey Video) So, having watched countless episodes and vigorous YouTube videos, here's what you need to know about commanding a presence like Horatio Caine.

Speak low and slow. There is so much power held in the deliberate whisperer's use of their voice. You lean in so you can understand what they're saying and all the sudden you're in a near trance, with all your undivided attention on the speaker. That's how you get somebody to really listen.

Gain trust. Horatio's dedication to his code to "protect and serve" enables him to always be the good cop. People trust him because he's true to himself and the case he's working on. Win people's trust and you'll win their hearts.

Body language is everything. Horatio always cocks his head slightly, showing signs of deep contemplation, and delivers a penetrating gaze, but in a soft way. He never quite looks right at you which creates comfort, but also mystery. You can't help but come back for more.

Deliver memorable one-liners. "I am going to get to the truth." "Looks like we've found our man." "It looks like Miami has a new breed of criminal." "The verdict is in Frank, but the jury is out." "Looks like somebody had a bad day." Being memorable with your word choice and references always makes an impression. Adopt your own sayings and start to sprinkle them into your conversations. Subtly irony works wonders as well. (Some classics...)

Pause uncomfortably long. There's an incredible amount of tension created by deliberate pausing. You're listening to someone speak then all of the sudden they pause mid-sentence. You can't say anything because it would cut them off, but you also know they're not finished yet so you don't want to walk away. It truly creates magic and exercises your completely control of the conversation.

Use props. For Horatio it is the sunglasses. Adopt your own style and use it to spice up your life. It could be a certain piece of jewelry, a way you wear a particular type of clothing, or always having on fantastic shoes. Single out a part of your appearance, kick it up a notch, and make it memorable.

Make your point and walk away. Don't wait for a comeback. Nearly every scene that Horatio is in, he finishes, leaving no room for a rebuttal. The lesson: Always leave people wanting more. It keeps them coming back.

Who says we can't learn a thing or two from pop culture television? Tap into your inner Horatio Caine this week and see what kind of difference it makes in your life. Even if it's just for a few laughs.