I recently watched a brilliant YouTube video of Nick Sparks giving a presentation at the 21 Convention called “How to Hold a Conversation Like a Man”. It’s a great talk about how to start and lead conversations with women you are meeting for the first time and I really recommend that you watch it. However, if you do not have an hour to spare, you can read my thoughts on it below.
One of the biggest stumbling blocks for guys when meeting women is the conversation. A lot of guys feel that they don’t know what to say and some guys don’t know when to shut up.
At some point men started to believe that they are entirely responsible for the conversation they have with a woman. They feel that they need clever opening lines and hilarious and witty things to say at all times. That’s a lot of pressure so it’s no wonder that guys freeze up.
What men have forgotten somewhere along the way is that conversation is a two way street. In other words, both parties have to contribute to the conversation in order for it to exist. Otherwise, you become some kind of entertainer and I don’t see why you would want to go around entertaining strangers, unless you are getting paid for it. Besides, how can you possibly know everything you are going to say to a person that you know absolutely nothing about, in advance of meeting them. You figure that out along the way.
Nick would tell you that the best opening line is “Hey”. As he explains it, you can start by saying Hello and asking a basic question like “what are you up to tonight?” or “where are you from?” (simple, right?). Once you do that, it is up to the woman to reciprocate and that is how conversation is born. Who would have thought! If she does not want to engage then Nick suggests finding someone who does.
Then there are guys who are not at a loss for words but rather, don’t know when to stop talking. It can be a different symptom of the same problem. Feeling obligated to fill any silence with words, these guys become talking machines, neglecting to give the woman an opportunity to get a word in. Talking too much can actually come across as a sign of nervousness or worse, a lack of social intelligence. If you are speaking to a woman, make sure that she in engaged. If you have been talking for a while without much of a contribution from her then just stop; allow for an awkward silence. If she re-engages you then you know that she wants to keep talking, if not, move on.
There is little that most people like more than being listened to. So why deprive her of the opportunity? Let her speak and take an interest in what she has to say. Don’t worry about what you are going to say next. If you are actively listening then trust that you will know. And don’t feel the need fill every moment of silence; it is not always your responsibility.
None of this is to be used as an excuse to be passive. Go out, initiate conversations and lead the interaction but don’t take on the full burden of making the conversation happen. Do your fifty percent and let her take care of the rest. And don’t be afraid to allow for an awkward silence. If you’ve done your part and she hasn’t then she should be the one feeling awkward.