Sunday, December 31, 2006

Your First Conversation

Conversation Is Making Beautiful Music Together Conversation is like music. Your first conversation can be a beautiful concert where all the notes fall into place, bringing joy and harmony to your Quarry's heart. Or you can inadvertently utter discordant notes that make your Quarry tune out thoughts of love. So far we've talked about the dance (the body movements and choreography) to get your Quarry interested. Now, let's explore the music (the words and lyrics) of your love overture—your first conversation. Think of your first conversation as an audition piece to see what role, if any, you will play in your Quarry's life. You can get away with boring interludes later in a relationship, but not now. Your first discussion has to be a smooth flow of electricity if it's going to ignite a relationship. What is exhilarating conversation? To one Quarry, it's talking about sports, theatre, ballet. For another, it's discussing philosophy, psychology, or nuclear fission. Many people find chatting about their home, their car, or their family, dog, or parakeet to be the most engrossing dialogue by far. You need techniques to discover your Quarry's hot buttons to make sure your first conversation is memorable for him or her. Conversation Is Like Making Love When you are making love to a new partner for the first time, you can gently ask, "Am I doing it the way you like? Is there anything else you want?" But you can't ask a new PLP , "Is the conversation good for you, too, honey?" When you are in bed together the first few times, you don't yet know where she likes to be caressed, where he loves to be touched. How rough does he or she like it? How gentle? You pick up hints. You watch her body, his facial expressions. You listen to her little moans, his involuntary gasps. You may sense that she goes crazy whenever you kiss her nipples. (So of course you kiss them some more.) Maybe he pulled away when you nibbled his thighs. (So you don't take any more bites on that tender tissue.) Be just as sensitive in early chats with a new Quarry. Your first conversational interchange is every bit as important as your first sexual intercourse together—maybe even more significant, because the latter may never happen if the former isn't good.
Conversation Is Like Selling While you're chatting, watch your Quarry's reactions to what you are saying. Keep an eye out for involuntary facial expressions, head movements, body rotation, hand gestures, and even eye fluctuations. Like a top professional salesperson, learn how to interpret all these signals and plan your pitch accordingly. With the rare exception of those who have studied the highly complex art of deception, a person cannot not communicate how he or she feels. Your Quarry may not say in words how he or she is responding to what you are saying, but signals are clearly telling you nonetheless.In my sales seminars, I teach a technique I call eyeball selling. Knowing what turns a customer on, what turns him off, and what leaves him neutral from moment to moment can make or break a sale. Likewise, knowing what turns your Quarry on, what turns him off, and what leaves her neutral from moment to moment can make or break your relationship. Say you have just been introduced to an exciting new stranger at a party. The two of you fall into conversation. Watch Your Quarry's Face Throughout the conversation, his or her expression will change. Sometimes your Quarry's face will suddenly take on a lively intensity. This might occur while you are discussing something which, to you, is mundane or boring. At other times, even when you are talking about something you consider a hot topic, his or her face falls flat. Watch for these telltale signs and tailor your conversation accordingly. When your Quarry's face comes alive, ask for more information on that topic. Keep it going. You are on a roll. When your Quarry's face goes bland, that's your cue to gently change the subject. Move on to another topic that will bring the light back into his or her eyes. Insensitive Hunters just go on and on with a topic that's a clunker, and their prey soon wriggles out of the boring trap. Watch Your Quarry's Head Position When Quarries get bored with you, they turn their heads away. A noise from the kitchen, someone new walking into the room, hearing his or her name across the room—any interruption will cause them to look away from you. However, if your Quarry finds you or your conversation captivating, he or she won't glance away. An entire tray of glasses could go crashing to the floor by your feet, but your Quarry's gaze would stay fixed on you. Be sensitive to the head twistings. Whenyour Quarry starts rotating his or her head away from you, that's another cue to spin a new conversational topic.
Explore Your Quarry's Body Position When you are stuck in boring dialogue with someone, long before you vocalize your excuse to get away, your body begins making preparations. You take a step back, and your torso turns away. If you are chatting with a PLP who is stepping back or turning away, watch out. It could mean your budding relationship has already shriveled up in his or her mind. However, take precise aim and give it one more good shot. Do not keep babbling on. Arrest your monologue. Use your Quarry's name. Then ask a personal question which throws the focus back on him or her. This will recapture your Quarry's attention and, if the relationship is not already crushed beyond resuscitation, it will nourish the seeds. Conversely, suppose your Quarry is giving you a full-faced, open, receptive body position. Top sales pros know this is the time to move in for the close. Do the same. Make your move. This is the time to make a date, get a phone number, or suggest that you two go somewhere else and continue the discussion over coffee or a drink. Watch Your Quarry's Hands Sometimes your Quarry's lips can lie, but hands reveal all. Occasionally glance at them while you are chatting to pick up some of the hidden thoughts he or she is harboring. Does he reach for a paper clip on a desk or a match on the mantlepiece while you're talking? Does she run a finger around the edge of a cup? These motions express thoughtfulness or contemplation. Your Quarry is thinking about what you just said. Take it as your cue to stop talking and let a breath of silence give cadence to your conversation. If you are uncomfortable with complete silence, at least slow down and maintain a pace that's leisurely enough to let your Quarry have his or her own thoughts. Palms up is an excellent sign. Hunters, when she has her palms facing you, it means she likes you. She is feeling vulnerable and probably welcomes more closeness. Palms up is the classic ''I submit" position. If appropriate, now is the time to gamble a first touch, perhaps on her open palm or on her arm. Huntresses, pay special attention to pointed fingers. Does your Quarry shake a finger in the air while making a point? Think of a pointed finger as a mini erection which shows excitement over a particular detail. If he shakes a finger in the air while making a particular point, it means he feels strongly about it. Take it as your cue to express your wholehearted agreement with him. Keep an Eye on Your Quarry's Eyes If you see your Quarry's eyes wandering, it's not necessarily a rejection of you. It could just be that you're on a boring topic. Try changing the subject. When you become a real expert on eye watching, you can gauge how well you're doing by the size of your Quarry's pupils. If the pupils start shrinking, an involuntary horn is blasting, "This is bor-ing!" If, however, his or her pupils start growing, an internal alarm is shouting, "I'm interested. Tell me more."
TECHNIQUE #10: EYEBALL CONVERSING Don't just babble on, oblivious to your Quarry's reactions. Like a top sales pro, watch your prospect carefully and gauge your pitch accordingly. That way, your Quarry is more apt to buy your act. How to Know What Topics Turn Your Quarry On It's frustrating to be chatting with an attractive stranger and get stuck in the small-talk rut. You are silently screaming out, "Gosh, I like you. I hope you like me, too. Here we are, making chitchat, but I want our discussion to be more interesting, more meaningful. What would you really like to talk about?" I've developed a surefire technique to ease the transition out of small talk and onto a subject that is closer to your new Quarry's heart. I call it cherry picking. While your Quarry is making small talk, scoop up any unusual references in the conversation—any anomaly, any deviation, any digression, or any invocation of another place, time, or person. Pick that word out, because it's your key to know what your Quarry would really like to talk about. Suppose, gentlemen, while walking home from work, a sudden rainstorm breaks out. You dart for the nearest shelter, a coffee shop. You go in, shake yourself off, and, as you sit down, you spot striking Ms. Attractive Stranger on the next stool. You clear your throat and take a chance. ''Wow," you say. "Looks like it's going to be some storm out there, huh?" She turns toward you and seems receptive. "Sure does." You are groping for something else to say. "Uh, do you come here often?" Your Quarry seems amused at your line, but still interested. "No, not too often." She smiles. "I stopped in here for a hot coffee to get out of the rain." You venture, "Yeah, it's really coming down, isn't it?" Well, it might not be brilliant, but it keeps the conversation going. "Oh, well." Your Quarry shrugs. "At least it's good for the plants." You both look out the window momentarily and then back at each other. You smile. Your Quarry gives you a forced smile. Then neither of you can think of anything else to say, so you both stare back into your coffee cups. End of possible love affair. Rats! It started out so great. The small talk was comfortable. Your Quarry was smiling and leaning in, and she seemed receptive to you. But when it came time to get off the boring stuff and on to more interesting topics, you got tongue-tied. Here's a quiz. In the above small talk, there was an escape hatch, a cherry. Ms. Attractive Stranger said one word that you could have picked up on that would have catapulted you right out of small talk and into something much more interesting for her. Did you spot it? Answer: It was the word plants. Let's go back to your less-than-riveting discussion of the weather. Just before you were afflicted with that sinking "What do I say next" feeling, she said, "At least it's good for the plants. To the savvy Hunter, that's a cue. Perhaps you wouldn't know a daffodil from a dandelion, but obviously plants are part of your new Quarry's life, or she wouldn't have used the word. Subconsciously, even unbeknownst to her, she was crying out, "I really prefer to discuss plants." TECHNIQUE #11: CHERRY PICKING You'll never be stuck for good discussions with your Quarry if you pick up on the conversational cherry. Listen for any slightly unusual word. That's your cherry seed. Plant it, and watch it flower into a memorable first conversation for your Quarry. After she threw out that cherry, you should have asked, "Oh, do you have a garden?" Maybe she has a vegetable garden, a roof garden, a hanging garden, or a victory garden. Maybe she has no garden at all but just loves plants. You don't know yet, but you do know that plants are somehow part of her world. Otherwise the word wouldn't have slipped out. Now, suppose, instead of saying "At least it's good for the plants," she had said, "I know, it's like a tropical storm out there, isn't it?" Your Quarry has just given you the cherry to save the conversation: tropical storm. Say, "Oh, have you been to the tropics?" Chances are she has, or at least has a knowledge of them, or it wouldn't have welled up from her subconscious when discussing the rain. Tropical, to you, may just be a way to describe a storm, but to the person who uttered the word it has a more intense connection. Learn how to be a word detective. Suppose she had said, "Because of the rain my dog can't go out," or "Yes, the rain has been dropping leaves in my pool." In this case dog or pool is your ticket to hotter conversation, at least for Ms. Attractive Stranger. How to Fool Your Quarry into Thinking You Two Are Already in Love If you eavesdrop on a man and a woman talking at a party, you could probably tell from just one minute of conversation how intimate they are. Are they new acquaintances? Just friends? Or are they lovers? You wouldn't even need to hear them call each other dear, darling, or lambie pie. Nor would you have to see their body language to figure out their relationship. It wouldn't matter what they were discussing, or even their tone of voice. You could just tell. How? By the level on which they were talking to each other. There is a fascinating progression of conversation depending how close two people are. Here's how it develops. Level One: Cliches Two strangers talking together primarily toss cliches back and forth. Let's suppose they are chatting about the universally recognized world's dullest subject, the weather. Two strangers would say, "Great weather we've been having," or "Boy, some rain, huh?" That's level one, cliches. Level Two: Facts People who know each other but who are just acquaintances often discuss facts. "You know, Joe, there were 242 sunny days last year," or "Yeah, well, we finally decided to put in a swimming pool to beat the heat."
Level Three: Feelings and Personal Questions Friends often express their feelings to each other, even on subjects as dull as the weather: "Gosh, Sam, I just love these sunny days." They also ask each other personal questions, like "How about you? Are you a sun person?" Level Four: We Statements This is the level of intimacy that very close friends or lovers enjoy. It's not cliches, and it's richer than facts. It's even more than feelings. It's we statements. Lovers discussing the weather might say, "If this good weather keeps up, we will have a great trip."
TECHNIQUE #12: THE PREMATURE WE Create the sensation of intimacy with your Quarry even if you've just met minutes before. Scramble the signals in his or her psyche by skipping conversational levels one and two, and cutting right to levels three and four. Here's a technique that grows out of this phenomenon. Use it to make a new Quarry subliminally feel you are already a couple, already an item, already in love. I call it the premature we, because you cut through levels one and two and jump straight to three and four. Scramble the conversational signals. Ask your new Quarry's feelings on something the way you would ask a friend. Use we sentences that are usually reserved for lovers and other intimates. Say you're chatting with a new PLP at a party. Elicit his or her feelings the way friends do. "Do you enjoy parties?" Proceed to the lovers' level, we statements. "Yes, we've really got to have a lot of stamina to get through these holiday parties, don't we?" Normally, in a budding relationship, people don't feel they're ready for we statements. But when clever Hunters and Huntresses prematurely say we, it subconsciously brings their Quarry closer. Get Even Closer by Giving the Gift of Intimacy Here's another conversational trick to enhance intimacy. Usually, when talking with strangers, we keep our guard up. We don't readily disclose personal information about ourselves. But, gradually, as we become more intimate with someone, we give away little pieces of ourselves like a gift. We might tell a friend or lover that we have a terrible time trying not to bite our nails, or, isn't it awful, our hair is so greasy we have to wash it everyday. When you reveal little foibles like this to a good friend, chances are he or she will reciprocate by laughing and saying something like, "Oh, you think that's bad? I go berserk keeping my hands off a zit," or "Your greasy hair is nothing. My barber asks me if I want a cut or an oil change!" That's how friends go on. Such revelatory repartee creates a bond, an intimacy between friends. By sharing a secret, or making a little confession, you show your Quarry that you're not on guard. You are being vulnerable. However, be sure you're on fairly strong footing with your Quarry before using this technique I call early-bird disclosure. If you sense he or she doesn't respect you enough yet, it can backfire. A fascinating study revealed that when a person of superior competence commits a social blunder, we like him or her more, but when a person of average competence makes a blooper, we like him or her less. 24 Revealing a small foible is endearing. A big one is not. For example, too early in a relationship, telling your new friend that you've been twice divorced, that you had your driving license suspended, or that you got turned down by a prestigious law school could turn your new Quarry off "What a loser!" she might say to herself. The facts themselves may really be no big deal. Those may be the extent of the black marks on your otherwise flawless life record of solid relationships, no misdemeanors, and a great academic record. But this early in your relationship, she has no way of knowing that. Her instinctive reaction is, "What else is coming? If he shares that with me so quickly, what else is hidden? A closet full of ex-spouses? A criminal record? A wall plastered with rejection letters?" Lock your closet door and save your bigger skeletons for later. Now is the time to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative. But do reveal a tiny foible. Your Quarry will find it endearing and feel closer to you. TECHNIQUE #13: EARLY-BIRD DISCLOSURE If you sense your conversation with a new Quarry is going smoothly, make a minor revelation about yourself. It creates intimacy. Choose some tiny foible and reveal it like a confession, but make sure it's really minor. Make Your Lifestyle "Fit" Your Quarry's Lovemap One can debate whether, as Shakespeare suggested, all the world's a stage. But it's indisputable that when an attractive stranger asks you (usually in the first five minutes), "And what do you do?" he or she is auditioning you for possible friendship. How you answer this question can make a big difference in what role your Quarry will cast you in. Will you be a star or just a bit player in his life? Are you prepared? Actors prepare audition monologues. Singers prepare audition songs. Just as experienced performers know that one song or monologue is not right for every audition, one standard answer to "What do you do?" is not right for all Quarry. You must first size up this attractive stranger before answering, then give what I call your Nutshell Resume. If you want this new person to fall in love with you, you must consider three factors before answering this question: 1. You want to sound like the type of man or woman he or she could love. 2. You want to sound confident and enthusiastic about your life. 3. You want your answer to have a hook so your Quarry will keep talking to you. Number 1: "I'm the Type of Man or Woman You Could Love." Granted, when you first meet an attractive stranger, you know very little about him or her. But try to make your vocation or avocation in life fit what you suspect is appropriate to his or her Lovemap. For example, perhaps you sense your new Quarry wants a lover of high professional status. Make your job sound as important as possible. Perhaps your new PLP exudes libertarian qualities. Highlight the freedom aspect of your work. He or she is a workaholic? Underscore your dedication to your job and talk about how many hours you, too, put in. When you grasp what type of Quarry you have in your trap, feed her the lines you think she'd like to hear about your work. Number 2: "I Love My Job." Everyone is drawn to confident, enthusiastic people. Women especially want a man to be confident in himself. Once I was writing an article for a men's magazine on what qualities women look for in a man. Instead of turning to psychotherapists and studies, I simply asked all my girlfriends, "What qualities do you most look for in a man?" Their answer? Overwhelmingly, the big turn-on was confidence. "I like a man to be confident," one of my girlfriends said. "He can be a turkey—but if he's a confident turkey, it's OK." Men, too, like a confident woman. Often, after my buddy Phil has a date, I'll ask, "How was it? Did you like her?" Phil, the typical alingual male when discussing relationships, usually just mutters, "Oh, it was OK." "Did you like her, Phil?" "Well, sure, but I probably won't see her again." "Why not?" "Well, she just didn't seem to have her life together." In other words, she didn't have a clear and confident sense of direction about her life. Men often make that complaint about particular women. The next time an attractive stranger turns to you and asks, "And what do you do?" make sure your answer exudes joy and confidence about your nine-to-five life. Number 3: "Let's Keep Talking." Say you've just met the possible love of your life. You've just said, "I'm a secretary," "I'm an attorney," or "I'm a nuclear physicist." Well, that's nice. Now what does he say? Your one-word answer to "What do you do?" will probably leave him tongue-tied. What do you ask a nuclear physicist? "Uh, gee, what have you nuked lately?" Never just say the name of your job and let your Quarry conversationally sink. Throw him some introductory bait he can nibble on so the conversation doesn't die of starvation. You're a lawyer? Instead of just saying "I'm an attorney," expand on it. Say, for example, "I'm an attorney. Our firm specializes in employment law. In fact, now I'm involved in a case where a woman was actually discharged for becoming pregnant and taking some time off work." Now you've given your catch some conversational bait. If you don't, he may swim quickly away in search of people to talk to where he feels more clever. Sooner or later another question that Attractive Stranger will ask you is "Where are you from?" Do more than just drop a one-word piece of geography in his lap. Prepare an interesting little hook about your hometown. For example, I'm originally from Washington, D.C. When asked, I tell people that, when I was growing up, there were seven women to every man because of the influx of female government workers. (A good reason to get out, right?) With a more artistic Quarry, I tell him Washington was designed by the same city planner who designed Paris. That increases the conversational options from just Washington to city planning to Paris. The more you throw out, the better conversational hit rate you get with your new Quarry. TECHNIQUE #14: NUTSHELL RESUME Whatever you do in life, wherever you go, don't blow what could be the biggest audition of your life—someone asking, "And what do you do?" Prepare an answer that fits your Quarry's Lovemap, is upbeat and confident, and casts some tasty bait to keep the conversation going.

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