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How to start a conversation with anyone you want

From the program How to Talk to Anybody, Ramit Sethi introduces what he calls the "plating the food" concept.

It's the idea that when you order food from a high-end restaurant vs food from McDonald's, you don't see the chefs. You don't see where they got the ingredients from or the cleanliness of the kitchen they cooked the meal in. All you see is the presentation.

For example, if you had to choose between this:

Or this:

Which would you choose?

You're choosing based on the presentation alone. Most people don't really know what's actually inside either meal option.

And, that's Ramit's general concept. When people see you for the first time, they don't see that you have a degree or won this or that award. All they see are your social skills.

*Note: Personally, I don't 100% agree with this point. They see your social skills, yes, but they also see your external currencies such as your good looks or expensive suit. That could, at the very least, get your foot in the door without social skills, even if you won't necessarily last long.

So, Ramit says here that you must refine your social skills in order for people to see you in a way that gets you closer to your goal of life success (or, as he puts it, living your "Rich Life").

And, he starts by introducing another idea: the "perfect words concept". It's the idea that there are no "perfect words" because there is more to perfect communication (if such a thing exists) than what you say. There's also how you say it.

With that, Ramit presents his first lesson to teach how to start a conversation with anyone you want:

Ramit: "Contrary to what novices believe, small talk is not 'BS' or a 'waste of time.' Socially savvy people understand the importance of building rapport before diving into the deeper parts of a conversation. Just as you don’t walk into a restaurant and immediately order dinner, you don’t skip right to deep philosophical questions with someone you just met! Small talk is a subtle, important part of building rapport. The good news: Small talk is a skill. You’ll become more natural by practicing. We’ve provided word-for-word scripts to help you start this process. Eventually, you’ll be able to set these scripts aside and make them your own—letting your own personality shine through."

Here's the idea. Take these scripts and say them three different ways. Then, one script and one way at a time, test each tonality throughout your day. Watch for the receiver's reactions to settle on the way you like best.

My first thought was that I want to model George Clooney. And, noticing that all of these scripts are introductions, I remembered when Clooney introduced himself to Tess after having just gotten out of prison. So, I thought to myself, "I'll just copy Clooney's tonality from that one scene":

Didn't work out.

The situation in the scene is one where there was already a rapport built up. And, Clooney's character is portraying certain emotions of sadness at his ex-wife having moved on. It lacks the energy that would engage someone you've just met.

I ended up finding a tonality I liked that models more toward Lucio in some of his YouTube videos.

I like this idea and experiment. The scripts are great too.

The idea behind practicing this experiment on your own is to find a tonality that will engage the other side to where they'll actually take the time to answer honestly and openly. That way, you can get started on the road to building rapport.

What do you guys think?

Kavalier has reacted to this post.

I agree how you say it is more important than what you say. From my years in pickup I d add keep good eye contact. Learn the skill of commenting on the environment, ask them questions to make them invest in the conversation.  E.g. to show it doesn't have to be witty or clever. Make statements as well that's what friends do.

Wow EVERYONE has coffee here.  It must be good.  Have you had it?



BTW for pickup I like opener #2  Because that allows you to do the special handshake.  Very gently place your index finger on their pulse line as you shake.  Long as you keep eye contact they won't notice.  I guess you could do the same thing in business.  Always been a bit nervous to try in the #metoo era.

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