Creating Clever And Charismatic Conversation

[Yeah, the headline ain't so clever, sue me.]

Good conversation doesn’t come naturally to many men. Shyness and fear are the two obvious barriers to good conversation. To help overcome that, I always recommend the website Succeed Socially (link below). The other barrier is knowing what to say and when to say it. This is not easy. Social interaction isn’t always like a soap opera. There are some things to keep in mind when talking to people – women, in particular – socially.

Be outcome independent. This is a core competency of Charisma and the foundation of good social interactions with women. No matter what the level of attraction to the woman you are speaking with, an agenda shouldn’t be percolating in your mind. If your conversational skills are only average, that agenda can absolutely ruin the interaction. Worse, you’ll come across as creepy. The agenda can kill comfort.

Ask questions. The standard Charisma advice is that a confident man makes statements and doesn’t ask questions. The exception to this advice is when a man is simply having a social conversation with a woman who hasn’t yet revealed any attraction to him. The questions should be about environmental things: “Have you heard about that new restaurant that just opened?” Don’t ask personal questions to someone you just met! Shallow questions are good for establishing comfort because they are non-threatening.

Listen well. Take an honest interest in what the woman is saying. You may not like what you are hearing but such is life. Try to remember what she is saying, even if it’s trite and silly. If you want to want to shift the subject matter (I hate celebrity gossip, too), here are a couple of phrases to use just before you change the subject: “That’s not my style” or “I’m not into that”.

Use eye contact. Look her in the eyes once at least once and awhile. This doesn’t mean trying to hypnotize her or looking at her eyes long enough for her to break away her own eye contact. This means honestly acknowledging her presence means that you take her words seriously, even if she’s prattling on about something inconsequential.

Pay attention to body language. Everyone shows their mood and emotional state during a conversation with their body language. This is where a good book comes in (link below). Always be aware of body language, yours included.

Reveal little. The downside to confidence is self-absorption. It’s manifested during social interactions when a guy only talks about himself. If a woman is totally smitten with him, that’s OK. But let’s not forget the woman’s unspoken rule about intimacy (link below), before she’s intimate with a man, she’s looking for reasons to reject him. That means that every personal detail that a man reveals about himself is another potential reason for rejection. The corollary to this is not to monopolize the conversation.

If you can, use humor and wit. This doesn’t mean become the accidental entertainer (link below) and trying to keep her laughing all the time. It means tossing out a funny comeback or remark occasionally. There is a warning here – humor is subjective. What you might perceive as funny might come across as creepy or offensive to others. By listening carefully, you should be able to gauge her sense of humor. For those who are humor impaired and need examples of how a funny conversation should flow, watch TV sit-coms, seriously. Pay attention to timing and delivery. It can be successfully emulated.

Links:

Succeed Socially

The Accidental Entertainer

Body Language Book

A Woman’s Unspoken Rule On Intimacy

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  1. #1 by Cúchulainn on May 25, 2012 - 12:39 PM

    If you live in a city that has them, taking an improv comedy class will help. You learn to quickly think on your feet and it helps with your timing when making a funny comment.

    • #2 by theprivateman on May 25, 2012 - 12:44 PM

      Either improv or standup classes will work. I’ve taken both and it was huge fun!

      • #3 by Cúchulainn on May 25, 2012 - 1:06 PM

        I took classes at The Second City because I’m from Chicago, and I always had a great time in class. I’d recommend it to every guy.

  2. #4 by P Ray on May 25, 2012 - 5:11 PM

    Good points, here’s my take on it:

    Be outcome independent – because while she is important … you are important and have your own goals too. Your goals don’t intersect? Meh, there are always other things to do. Time you spend with someone who doesn’t appreciate you, is time you spend away from someone who does, learning something or making money.

    Ask questions – but be aware that someone who REALLY doesn’t want to speak to you, will answer back with questions.

    Listen well – yep. ‘Cause later you may discover she has been lying to you. However, only do this for someone you think is worth going the long haul. It’s pointless to assume all women are going to walk life’s journey the whole way with you.

    Use eye contact – be aware that a woman who isn’t planning on being honest with you, will break it easily and quickly. A woman who wants to know you, will want to see more of you.

    Pay attention to body language – her making contact, good. Her being coy and coquettish – up to you if you want to keep things going (see be outcome independent, above)

    Reveal little – return the type of questions she asks you, if you’re not comfortable with what she asks you. If she can’t answer, you know she was trying to tool you.

    If you can, use humor and wit – but be aware of the Halo effect. A guy she already considers good (has social proof, spins plates, can move on) … is going to be funnier to her than the guy she considers lame and a tryhard.

    Women sabotage their own relationships, and it’s wise to recognise that. Should you pine for someone who chooses to treat you badly over the course of a date? I don’t know how many good relationships come from being with a person who consider you “not worth being nice to”.

    • #5 by just visiting on May 25, 2012 - 6:43 PM

      The more alpha a man becomes, the more problematic eye contact will be with some women. Nervousness, not shifftyness,lol. Though her body language will probably indicate this as well.

    • #6 by P Ray on May 25, 2012 - 7:52 PM

      A man whom a woman likes has to be careful that she doesn’t lie to him to keep him attached to her.
      That’s the difference between like and respect.
      Would she lie to him if she respected him?

  3. #7 by Reader on May 25, 2012 - 7:42 PM

    I am a member of another dating forum (“Happer Abroad”) where one poster made an excellent point about his skepticism regarding “social skills” (which I share completely):

    “Why is there this talk about “social skills” when it comes to meeting women? Social skills doesn’t really apply unless the other person meets you halfway and is willing to engage you into conversation. Otherwise, it’s a non-factor and a mere shaming tactic used by victim-blaming people.

    Oprah is known to have the best social skills for example. She is engaging, personable, asks her guests good questions, is a good listener, is comfortable to be around, etc. But that’s if her guest wants to talk to her. If they don’t, then her social skills are a non-issue.

    So why do some people act as though you can use social skills to break the ice and cold approach women who DON’T want to talk to you? It doesn’t work that way.

    Only if the girl is open to talking to you and giving you a chance, does it come into play. Otherwise, it’s a non-factor.

    Therefore, if every girls is antisocial or gives you the cold shoulder, [b]it doesn’t mean that you have no social skills[/b]. That’s a myth and false assumption. You’re either not her type, or she is anti-social, not in the mood, busy, or you are in an environment/culture where people don’t like to talk to strangers. ”

    http://www.happierabroad.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=14123

    I only mention this because the myth of social skills for men keeps getting rehashed over and over, not just here but in other blogs as well. What doesn’t really get mentioned is [b]women’s[/b] social skills which, in the US, are abysmal: a recent study found that American women are [b]second-to-last[/b] in the world when it comes to flirting with men:

    http://gawker.com/5686664/american-women-suck-at-flirting

    • #8 by theprivateman on May 26, 2012 - 9:22 AM

      Excellent points. You are 100% correct in that the woman (or any other person in the conversation) must be willing to reciprocate with at least some degree of manners. I think Moxie and Evan Marc Katz would do well by covering social skills for women. I’ll send ‘em an email.

  4. #9 by NMH on May 26, 2012 - 10:15 AM

    Outstanding comment, Reader. If a woman telegraph’s she is not interested in you it is not a default for the man to assume he is a socially inept, she just have very high standards in terms of the guys looks, for that maybe what gives her the tingle. Once you understand that, you can be a lot easier on yourself.

    That being said, subtle things like good body language can give you a few more seconds of consideration that could make up for any looks you may be missing in her eyes.

    Without a doubt, the better looking the man, the less social skills he needs.

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