How To Intimidate People

Intimidate. Everyone wants to be able to do it, few have the testicoli to make anyone flinch, much less sweat.

But mastering the art of intimidation can and will go a long way to getting what you want. The best intimidation is the one that's implied. Any cafone can point a gun; he's not scaring anyone, his gun is.

You want people to fear you, but you also want them to respect you, and your power. A fool with a weapon might get you to wet your pants, but you'll never write a tribute to him in The Tampa Tribune.

So let me take you through some of the ways you can intimidate without having to be 6'5" or 250 pounds.

Build Uncertainty & Mystery

The best way to intimidate someone who doesn't know you from a hole in the wall is by being as mysterious as possible (even if you're on The Ron & Ian Show occassionally). Be impossible to read. Sure, not shaving, having a scowl on your face, and wearing a trench coat can help your look, but if you don't know how to carry yourself, whoever you are trying to intimidate won't know the difference between you and a Larry The Flasher.

The less someone knows about you, the more you leave things open to the imagination. The more blanks your opponent fills, the less menacing you are. It's that simple.

Everyone fears the unknown and uncertainty. If you don't know what to expect, you're more on guard. If someone finds out you cry during chick movies, well, guess what buddy? You won't even intimidate your blow-up doll.

We've got a big earner in my Family who has an excellent record of collecting his "dues" because he's perceived as unbalanced. You know, crazy, wacko, pazzo, whatever sweetens your cannoli.

He'll knock someone in his crew unconscious, to show his "associates" he's indiscriminate and short-tempered. This guy is hilarious to watch in action because I know it's an act and, although he's one of the most intelligent people I've ever met, he comes across as a barbarian.

How does he intimidate? By being unpredictable, not having a stable, normal, logical MO, people are always trying to figure him out. They can't, because he's smart enough to freak out in the most normal of circumstances and be as cool as a Sicilian winter night amid a bordello of chaos.

Does he get his message across despite his instability? Do Italians do it better? Of course. Because he's too convoluted.

You don't have to be violent to show the other guy you have a screw loose or that you're out of control. Be a psycho, but a scary psycho; let them fear your eyes. Never, ever be nice or sensitive. You have to put it in your head that you are a cold, calculating machine. And execute.

Keep it short and sweet, and use that voice, you know, the Brando voice...

Remain Silent & Composed

Another way to intimidate is by never saying anything. Speak in a short, direct, snappy way, and the person across from you will know you mean business. Don't smile, don't blink, don't gulp, and don't adjust your panties. Keep your voice low and poised (now would be a good time to practice your Marlon Brando impersonation).

Look disgusted as if you just saw someone having sex with a chicken, bark your orders, and say nothing else. Never, ever, repeat yourself. They heard you the first time.

A well-timed act of violence can certainly send a message, but most of the time, you don't have to resort to that. The mystery of a silent threat is devastating.

Always be composed. Never show emotion. Never flinch (it shows that you're one scared little bastardo).

Size Helps

Let's not kid ourselves over here. You look like a brute, you get instant "intimidation cred." It's that simple.

So if it's something you want to do, go to the gym and bulk up. Learn some martial arts. Knowing a guy had a black belt always made me pay attention.

In the meantime, wear lots of layers. Make yourself look solid. Don't wear baggy pants or finocchio tight shirts. You ain't scaring anybody, Ricky Martin.

Have A Crew

When I have a meeting with an "associate" that hasn't been paying his tribute on time, I always go accompanied. These meetings are rare; I have others in my crew that take care of these things for me (like Carmine), but even as a young ragazzo, I would bring someone along even if I could turn the guy into a pretzel with my hands tied behind my back.

Having a posse is like having a backup plan. When things go wrong, the other guy has to deal with you and your crew. No matter how strong the other side is, having a half dozen mean mothers standing next to you, shoulder to shoulder, will get the right message across.

Let Your Reputation Talk

Build up your reputation as a tough son of a bitch, and that reputation will do the talking for you. Be someone no one should mess with, screw up a couple of guys who have, and people will whisper your name like you're a bogeyman.

Hold grudges, seek out revenge, make people pay for crossing you.

Go for bursts of anger, and check out the "ham-n-egger" who sent in an illiterate e-mail...

Show Anger In Short Bursts

When staying silent doesn't cut it, and you have to make a point, let it all out. Let that baby go crazy. Short, powerful, even violent, bursts of anger and rage would scare even Lucifer.

Don't overdo it, don't go for an Oscar. Make it short and sweet. You scream for too long or bang too many desks, people will tune you out.

A good, powerful no can work well. I can back up my words though, no matter how extreme; you probably can't. So don't make any threats you can't deliver on.

The minute people question your word, or you back out of a threat, you've lost. Start running, they've called your bluff. Game over.

Send A Messenger

What if people know of you, but have never actually seen you? What if you are known simply as a voice on the other line? What if you always send people in your name to take care of business for you? What if you are known simply as the boss upstairs, but no one knows your face?

What happens the day you show up? Everyone you've been dealing with will have built-up expectations, whether real or not, of who are you.

If you've been a hard ass from afar, then you must be a harder ass in person. It will be like getting visited by God. You're curious, but you're scared shitless too.

Scary, Like A Clown

Intimidating somebody is an art form if you don't have the tools to back yourself up. Guys that are heavy, they don't need tricks, they walk around with an aura of intimidation without even trying.

They are always confident and pretty indifferent to your responses because they know they can get you to do whatever they want, despite your bravado.

When you're not in La Cosa Nostra, when you're not made, when you don't know kung fu, or know a guy that knows a guy, etc., a little bit of play acting is your only choice.

Remember to say little, be confident, don't flinch, and never let them see you sweat. If you are sweating, then there's no hope for you, the best you can do is hope you'll have a nice burial.

Mama looks so pretty in a black dress, doesn't she?

Watch your backs and keep your noses clean. And remember..."think long and hard" my friends.