Hooks & Ladders
The key to never running out of conversational material is understanding how to use “hooks.”
A “hook” is anything a girl mentions that you can turn into a topic of conversation—right now, or later on.
A “ladder” is an opportunity in the conversation for you to plant a positive seed in her mind and boost yourself up a notch. So, you want to look out for hooks that you can turn into ladders.
For example, you might want to talk to her about music. I like to bring up music, because it’s a subject I know a lot about, and I’m passionate about the bands and artists that I love.
I won’t ask her a standard question like “What kind of music are you into?”
Instead, I’ll put an interesting spin on it and say something like, “I bet you’ve got good taste in music. What were you listening to today on your car stereo?”
She might answer, “Lady Gaga. My sister and I saw her concert in Vegas a couple of months ago.” She has just provided me with several possible hooks—springboards to new topics that allow me to build myself up (without ever sounding like I’m bragging). Just in that one brief answer, she threw out three hooks I might want to use:
A) Lady Gaga. While I’m not a big fan, I do respect how original Lady Gaga is. She’s got her own unique style and is a trendsetter. I’ll mention how I respect that about her, and how it’s cool when a person is willing to take risks and do their own thing—since most people have a “follow the herd” mentality. Now I can mention how I love being an entrepreneur and taking risks to pursue my own goals, no matter what anyone else may think, and then I’ll get her to talk about her own pursuits and passions. Great stuff. A definite ladder.
B) The fact that she has a sister. I can ask if her sister is older or younger, and relate a funny little story about a concert I went to with my little sister years ago. (She begged me to bring her to a Backstreet Boys concert…which I thought was going to be sheer torture, but by the end of the show I was actually singing along because their songs are so damn catchy!)
C) The fact that she went to Vegas. Tons of conversational material there. I’ve spent lots of time in Vegas and can talk to her about my favorite clubs, or tell her a story about the time I got ridiculously lucky at the blackjack tables and the casino wound up comping me and my friends a high roller suite. (I’ll throw in some “plans” for us to visit Vegas together: “Sarah, you and I are going to Vegas one of these days. You’ll be my good luck charm, I’ll win us a bundle at blackjack, and we’ll have a quickie wedding at the Elvis Chapel and then get it annulled the next day. It’ll be a fun story we can tell our grandkids…”)
As I wrote that paragraph above, I was reminded of the hilarious movie “The Hangover.” (Remember how one of the characters, during his drug-induced blackout, married a stripper in some cheesy Vegas chapel and had to get it annulled?) So, if I wanted to, I could say to her “We’ll have a quickie wedding at the Elvis Chapel and then get it annulled the next day. It’ll be like that movie, “The Hangover.” Wasn’t that movie hilarious?” (And now we’re talking about our favorite funny movies.)
I’m just giving you some quick examples. I could give a million others. During any conversation, opportunities to grab onto hooks will arise constantly. When you identify these hooks, you’ll never have to struggle to figure out what to say next.
Being a great conversationalist means being able to recognize hooks, grab onto the most interesting ones, and use them to keep the conversation flowing in new directions. When you do it right, it will be seamless.
One more example…
Average Guy: So what do you do for work?
Girl: I’m a teacher.
Average Guy: Really? That’s cool. So, um…have you been to this bar before?
Girl: Yeah. It’s nice to meet you but I need to go find my friends…
(Average guy retreats, sucks down nine more beers, goes home and masturbates to internet porn.)
Now let’s look at how a charming guy like yourself might handle it…
You: You have so much positive energy, Cindi. I really like that. You must be working on saving the world right now, or doing something else that’s really interesting…
Her: Haha. Not really, I’m just a teacher.
You: I have a lot of respect for teachers. There’s no way I would be where I am today if it wasn’t for Mr. Barnes, my high school English teacher. He was the first person to really inspire me to become a writer. So for you to get into teaching, there must have been someone who inspired you…
(The conversation flows and goes deeper…you start talking about passions, goals, the fact that you’re working on a book, the fact that she wants to start an after-school program to help inner-city kids…you’re bonding so quickly that getting her number and seeing her again is guaranteed, and taking her home tonight is a definite possibility.)
The more you talk to girls and practice your “flow,” the easier it becomes for you to riff on virtually any topic—and plant seeds in her mind about your own diverse interests, range of knowledge, and talents, passions and goals.
If she happens to mention something about California, I’ll mention my old college buddy Dave who lives in California and left his high-pressure job in the financial industry to be a full-time surfer. Some people might call him a slacker, but I love how he went against the grain and did what would make him happy, because life is too short to live any other way.
Now I can talk to her about college and find out where she went to school, whether she was a party girl or a serious student, etc. I can relate some of my own college experiences, and talk about how it was an amazing time in my life that shaped who I am today. I can keep the conversation light and funny and tell some funny stories about my days in the fraternity, or take it a little bit deeper.
Pay attention and watch for the hooks. She’ll supply them. By using them and controlling the flow of the conversation, she won’t pause to think “well this guy is kinda fun to talk to, but he’s not really my type so I should go find my friends…”
Instead, she’ll be swept up in your enthusiasm and energy and go with your flow. Where you take it is up to you.