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"How to Have a Conversation" / August 7th, 2006

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How to Have a Conversation
by Jay Valens of The Art of the Pickup
August 7th, 2006

When I was first learning how to meet and attract women, I may have been where you are now, not quite knowing how to lead the interaction but working to improve.

Even back then, friends of mine would observe me and see that I still could carry a lengthy and engaging conversation with most women when my friends were still having trouble initiating and following through with some memorized routines or stories.

At some point I took the time to understand what I, myself, was doing right in conversation and have since formulated a number of key factors in how a man can not only have a great conversation with a woman but also lead that conversation to see actual results (phone number, date, and perhaps some debauchery here & there).


This one may seem obvious, but I lost count of how many guys I’ve observed totally and utterly forget to listen to the girl.

They will have great stuff to talk about, have interesting stories, plenty of “lines” to open with but they get blown out of a conversation with a girl because they forgot one of the most important things to do when having a conversation with women, let alone anyone.

For example, her name.

How many times have you been out and successfully approached and had a conversation with a girl that was going pretty well? At some point, she gave you her name but in the middle of conversation, you realize that you totally forgot it. And what school she goes to. And what her friend’s names are. And what she’s interested in. And why she’s out with her friends that night.

Here is a simple trick.

Many times when you approach someone and start to have a conversation, generally that person is interested to have you there and talk to you. Otherwise, they would make an excuse to go away (then you have a different issue other than listening to fix!).

So, make them feel even better to have you there by LISTENING to them.

People love to talk, especially about themselves, and when you give them the chance and they feel like you’re interested & listening then they will be happy to keep talking and do all the heavy lifting for you.

You will barely need to say anything and, guess what? They will feel like the conversation was fantastic and won’t realize they were doing most of the talking.

Also, in the chance you run into a girl who doesn’t seem to talk to much (perhaps she’s shy or reserved) well, great, because you won’t have to work too hard when you are listening! Either way, you can see how listening is easier than you think.

Pay Attention

Paying attention is different from listening.

Paying attention means to retain the key information people talk about in a conversation, and paying attention to their actions regardless of their words.

When first talking to a girl, you need to pay attention to what she perceives as being important to her.

Pay attention to how she views the world. Pay attention to her opinions and statements, actions and reactions.

This is not to say that you CATER to any of it (unless you genuinely agree or it works in your favor) but that you understand how she views the world and where her beliefs are and where her realty truly is versus her perception of that reality.

With this information, you will have most of the information you need to understand how she perceives the world and how you can portray yourself in the best light in her world.

HOWEVER (and this is a BIGGIE) this does NOT mean that everything a girl says is exactly what she means or even anything close to what her TRUE feelings on something are or how she actually reacts to certain conditions versus how she says she reacts.

So, when talking to a woman, how do you know what to pay attention to and take at face value versus treat as a potentially inaccurate?

Simple. When a girl makes a CLAIM about herself that she can’t necessarily show you right then and there, and it’s a statement herself or what she seeks or doesn’t like in others, then it’s most likely false or a means to test to see how you’ll react.

Why is it most likely false? Because she is most likely stating how she WISHES things to be or desires herself to be because (drum roll please…) it’s in contrast to the way things ARE for her NOW.

I wish this weren’t true, but more often than not it is. The absolute ONLY way you can tell that what you’re paying attention to from a woman is verifiably true is to observe her ACTIONS and how she reacts to you or what you say.

For example, if a girl says “I hate when guys ignore me.” what she’s almost certainly really saying is “All the men I’ve been attracted to so far have been the type to ignore me… and I hate that.” She may hate it, she may wish it to be different, but that does not change the fact that her statement is a contradiction to reality.

However, if you ignore a girl initially and her interest seems to wane, but her interest truly (and visibly, especially through touch) increases when you pay attention to her, then you know for sure that no matter what she says she will react positively to you more often under a condition than another.

This may be difficult to do at first but with time you can master this skill.

Avoid Generic Topics

Until you’ve been on a couple dates with a girl and starting to really get to know her well enough that she won’t run away at the first hint of a boring conversation topic with you, DO NOT talk about:

* the weather,
* sports
* work (hers or yours, unless she asks)
* school
* family
* religion

The greatest way to kill a potentially interesting conversation with a girl, especially in mixing social environments like clubs or bars, is to bring up any of those topics and expect her to be interested to continue the conversation.

Sure, she may be polite, but she’ll also be looking for a way out as soon as she can.

If you have trouble avoiding generic topics because you don’t know what to talk about, you can use the following ideas to help you out (they help ME out all the time!):

* Talk about something interesting that happened to you that day.
* Ask her what she’s done that day that was interesting.
* If she doesn’t have any interesting stories for the day, ask her to tell you an interesting thing that a friend of hers did that day.
* Have a few common and interesting stories about yourself that you save to memory and bring up when the context is right. To maximize the chance of the context being right, have multiple elements of the story that relate to a wide range of subjects. For example, if you have a dog then the story could involve places, people, things, all of which can be used as “reminders” for the story.

Understand Context

Just because you are talking about aquariums does not mean you are talking about aquariums.

A woman may seem to be very interested to talk about a recent city project to improve the local aquarium but it may be because she loves sea life and not because the aquarium itself has significant meaning to her.

You should pay attention to the context of a particular conversation and understand WHY she is interested in a certain topic.

Another angle to this is to understand that sometimes girls present arbitrary stories or discussions about situational issues related to their friends but what they are really doing is presenting the discussion to observe your reaction to it.

For example, if a girl is a wild child at heart but is unsure of your TRUE feelings on it, she will talk about how one of her friends is a secret wild child while presenting herself at that moment as a calm nice girl.

She does not want a guy who will judge her, so if the guy she’s talking to shares his opinion on the “other person” then she will more likely feel as though she’s getting the real opinion from that guy.

Girls are used to guys kissing their asses so no matter what they say they feel like a guy might be responding with something that just to caters to them (kiss their ass). They feel better when they know they’ve got his “real” opinion, and many times for a guy it blows him out of the conversation… because he didn’t understand the context!

Oops, I just gave away a good ploy girls like to use. Sorry, ladies!

This is why guys who disagree with woman often will have a better chance with her than a guy who caters to almost everything she says. The former seems like he’s stating his real opinion, while the latter seems like he’s just kissing ass. The ass-kisser may be doing it all wrong, but that doesn’t mean even the other type of guy is doing too much better.

The guy who does the BEST will be the one listening, paying attention to context, and understanding when to talk and when to shut up, and avoids saying anything that is purely based on conforming to what he believes a girl wants to hear versus what will actually be more productive based on her perceptions.

Dangle Branches

Just because you have an interesting topic to talk about does not mean you have to tell her everything about it.

When talking, dangle a few conversational options (“branches”) that she can, on her own, pick to go forward with.

I don’t mean spelling out a list of possible topics like multiple choice, but in the natural flow of conversation things will come up that you can mention indirectly then keep going forward with the main topic.

Allow some pauses for her to pick up on the dangling branches that interest her most, and just be sure that in doing so she doesn’t take control of the entire conversation.

Cut Branches

Just because you have an interesting topic going does not mean you have to stay on it until it’s complete.

You can, and should, cut your own topics and start different ones so long as the transition makes sense. “Oh, yeah, that reminds me of…”, “Speaking of which…”, “It’s like the time I was…”

You can always get back to previously cut branches whenever you want.

Also, you will be able to gauge her interest in any particular topic by how insistent she is to go back to a previous topic (this also will reinforce to you that she is, indeed, interested to stay there talking to you).

Watch for Forks

This is like branches, but in reverse.

Women will dangle braches for you, basically creating a fork in the road of the conversation. Their way of doing it will be subtle, but it makes it more FUN for you because you can treat it like a game.

The subtlety comes in the words they choose when talking about something and you can “rate” any given word based on whether it will help you move forward with her or not, and in what direction.

This will also give you opportunities to pepper the conversation with flirtation and possible fake “misinterpretation” of what she’s said to allow you to tease her. This might be a new concept to you so I’ll give some examples and then we’ll use them to cover the last element of conversation, “Picking the Best Fork”:

1. “I was taking a SWIM yesterday in the POOL in my BUILDING and it was so RELAXING and REFRESHING, then I remembered I had WORK to do that I’d brought home and it was just at that moment my BOSS called.”

2. “I was in a RUSH this morning and dropped my CELL PHONE this morning and it BROKE so I went to the Sprint store and talked to this really FRIENDLY kid who helped me move my settings to a new phone. I would have stayed at the store longer to take a BREAK from the hustle & bustle but I had an important MEETING at WORK.”

Pick the Best Fork

Using the previous examples, here is how most average guys will pick up the conversations:

1. “Yeah, I really hate when my boss calls when I’m trying to take it easy. It’s like they’ll call at the worst time and then my moment is shot. So… what do you do for work…?”

2. “I hate being in a rush, too. I’m always a klutz like that when I’m in a hurry and have broken a cell phone or two in my day. So… what do you do for work…?”

A guy who’s read the “Pickup Arts” Newsletter and watched “The Art of the Pickup»DVDs will pick up the conversations with:

1. “I always wanted a pool in my building! Can I move in with you? Haha, seriously, I love relaxing by the water on a sunny day. Which reminds of the time I …”

2. “Yeah, I love how friendly people can make your day so much better. I wish more people were cool like that. Speaking of which…”

I should probably add “How to Take Advantage of the Best Fork” as an element but I’ll save that for another time…

In the meantime, “The Art of the Pickup»DVDs are chock full of informative video segments on having conversations that help you even more! Be sure to check it out!

Your talkative teacher,

Jay Valens

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