This week I am going to answer a very common question that a lot of guys have around small talk.
When I first meet someone, it seems the natural thing to do is engage in some “small talk” (what do you do, where do you work/study, etc.) to establish some kind of grounds for a conversation. But some girls will be immediately turned off by “small talk,” or will share a minimal amount making it harder to extend the convo to something deeper. I would love to be the kind of person that can strike up a conversation with any girl about anything and keep them engaged.
Today, we are going to work through it and break it down step-by-step. Let’s take a look at the second half of the question first:
I would love to be the kind of person that can strike up a conversation with any girl about anything and keep them engaged.
So, who is the kind of person that can strike up a conversation about anything and keep them engaged? I would bet that kind of person is:
- Experienced in conversation
- Has tested different ways of making small talk more exciting and engaging
- Interested in the person they are talking to, and curious to learn more about them.
How do you become this person? Testing and practice. That’s it. We are going to look at the best ways to test and improve small talk today. I’ve also included a free guide to “Becoming The Guy that can Strike up a Conversation with any Girl and Keep them Engaged.” So be sure to grab that at the end of the post.
Meeting a cute girl when I was out on a bike ride, and then totally ruining everything.
A few months ago I was going for a bike ride along a trail here in Denver. The trail runs through the central part of the city so there are always a lot of people on it every day.
I was coming back from my awesome bike ride while listening to one of my favorite podcasts (probably either Lewis Howes or Tim Ferriss), and I got off the trail and onto one of the main roads at a stop sign.
While I was waiting for the cars to go by, a pretty girl pulled up beside me.
I was in a good mood, and I wanted to see if I could make her laugh.
So I said, “Wanna race?”
She looked over at me and gave a smile.
The cars had cleared and she began slowly pedaling into the street. She wasn’t taking me seriously! This wasn’t a game. This was a life and death, king of the road race!
I pulled up to the next stop sign and waited for her to catch up.
“You better keep up or I’m going to win!” She smiled again and began to pick up the pace a little.
We continued up a hill and came to the street where my apartment was.
“It was a great race, I’m headed over there” as I pointed in the direction of my apartment.
She replied, “You’re leaving already?” – This was the first thing she had said the whole time!
… And this is where I totally dropped the ball.
I laughed and said, “I will see you next time!”
As I pedaled away I realized that I should have asked her out!
How could I have built up something so awesome and lost it all?
I looked back and she was gone. I haven’t seen her since.
So what was the point of the story?
It took me years of developing my social skills to be able to come up with funny/witty ideas on the fly. Even though the girl didn’t say anything until the end, it was clear that she enjoyed the fun experience and it made an impact on her day.
There was a time in my life where if I was in that situation I would have racked my brain thinking of things to say:
- “Maybe I should use a pickup line?”
- “Just say hi!”
- “Don’t say hi that’s dumb, she will KNOW you’re into her.”
It doesn’t have to take you years to figure out all of this small talk stuff and how to be funny. I’ve broken it down into simple steps for you.
How do you get better at small talk?
Jerry Seinfeld is easily one of the hardest working comedians of all time. He meticulously writes and rewrites his material – sometimes taking 2 years to write a single joke!
Seinfeld has honed his craft over the years and developed a remarkable ability to observe the world around him, and turn seemingly boring and bland scenario into a gut busting joke.
This mentality of observing, rehearsing, and trying new ideas can be applied to your conversations with women. Just like anyone who becomes great at their craft, you can start with a few tools and a mental framework to help (covered in the free guide) – and then develop it into your own personality over time.
No more awkward silences – Your small talk tool box
Today we are going to break down a conversation into 2 phases and learn how to get past the common sticking points.
[ Phase 1 – Introduction ]
Common sticking points:
- “I’m too afraid to talk to her because I don’t know what to say”
- “I want to find a natural way to talk to her, so I’ll wait forever.”
If that’s the case then here are some intros you can use:
- “Hey, my name is ____________, how are you doing?” Crazy, right? I use this 90% of the time.
You also start with an honest, genuine compliment either on someones clothing, or accessory they are wearing. If they respond in a positive manner, you can engage in a conversation.
If you feel like you need to be more clever than that, try a few of these:
At the gym:
“Do you mind if I join you for a bike ride?”
“What did you think of the workout?”
NOTE: A lot of advice out there says don’t talk to women at the gym, which is usually true. Women usually don’t want to be approached at the gym because they feel gross and want to be left alone. However, if you are in some kind of group exercise program (crossfit, cycling, group training) you will have an easier time getting to know people because everyone works out together and there is more of a team mentality.
At the bar:
“Hey you look like fun! Do you mind if I join you?”
“Cheers!” – This can be a good statement because most people will cheers back and smile, and then you can follow up with “What are you drinking?”
At an event (networking, party)
“Hey my name is__________, what brings you here?”
Coffee shop: “It’s funny how everyone looks like a zombie before they get their coffee.” “That looks like an interesting book, do you like it?”
[ Phase 2 – Post introduction, middle of conversation. ]
Common sticking points:
- After the introduction the conversation immediately gets awkward
- Should I ask more questions? Should I ask less questions?
- What do I say next?
TIP: Most guys either ask way too many questions, or don’t ask any and start rambling about themselves. Try to find a natural flow of a conversation. There is no formula (because then it wouldn’t be natural) but if you find yourself asking too many questions, switch it up and make a statement. For example:
You: What do you do?
Her: I’m a personal trainer at the local gym
You: So you like whipping people into shape?
Her: Yes, I like seeing people go through their transformations and becoming healthier.
You: Interesting – tell me more about that.
Her: I love knowing that I can help change and go from doubting themselves to being able to lift weight they never thought possible. I find it very rewarding.
You: That’s really cool that you have found a way to help other people out in a way that feels good for you.
Her: Yes, I love it! So what do you do?
When you move from questions to statements, the conversation begins to take on a more natural feel. If you stick to only questions, it will feel like a job interview and often times people will roll their eyes and look for a way to exit the conversation. Here are some statements you can use. Test them in your conversations to find how people respond.
- “That’s interesting, tell me more about that.”
- “You know, I would have never thought doing X would lead to Y. That’s cool you found that.”
- “I really liked that (movie, book, song) too. I can tell that person put a lot of time into making that their best (movie, book, song).”
The best statements allow for the other person to have an easy way to respond. A bad statement would be:
- “I liked that movie”
A good statement would be:
- “I liked that movie because of X and Y”
Here are a few more interesting questions that lead to an engaging conversation:
- What was your biggest win today?
- What do you think is your greatest strength?
- What in life currently makes you the most fulfilled?
How to deal with short replies during small talk
If you’re having challenges during small talk and you feel the other person isn’t into the conversation. Consider a few things:
- Just like you get nervous during conversation sometimes, they might be going through the same thing. She might be feeling self conscious because she wasn’t expecting someone to come and talk to her. Be sure to smile, and have relaxed, confident body language to allow the other person to feel more comfortable.
- Sometimes people don’t want to talk. If you are getting more than 2 or 3 one word responses, you can politely eject from the conversation and move on.
Come up with endless fun conversation ideas in 10 minutes a day
Just like any comedian or writer, they have to spend time thinking of ideas and how to make their craft better. Every time you have a conversation, reflect on what you can improve on, and what went well. By doing this you are guiding your mind to become creative naturally.
To Do this week
The only way you can get better at conversation is to have more conversations. It’s also important to reflect on what went well, and what to improve on during each conversation.
- Go out and start conversations with 3 different people using the techniques above
- Record what happened and what you can improve on
- Leave a comment below on your results
I’ve included my formula I used to improve my social skills in my free guide, and a few more lines you can use to get started. There is even a bonus of my favorite way to go into a deeper conversation on a date.
grab that here!
About Coffee Meets Bagel (CMB): CMB is a free dating service that helps members make meaningful connections. It’s designed for busy singles who want to find something real with little or no effort.