Conversation: It's to a date what Conan is to the Barbarian; what Murray's Pomade is to Brian Setzer's hair; what Bruce Lee is to taking ass and kicking names. I think you get the point… Yeah, it's that important.
I'm not the best conversationalist in the world. I'd say I'm pretty average. However, in my dating adventures I've learned how to converse with people that have varied and disparate interests from my own. One thing that is common from person to person is that, regardless of their shyness, they like to talk about themselves and their interests.
In addition to people wanting to talk about themselves there's another basic principal that I base my conversation philosophy on: Open and Closed questions. Questions and answers are the basis of most any conversation; generally used to continue or initiate a conversation. Knowing the difference between the two can help you to identify where you might be failing in conversation. Also finding balance in the conversation is key. You don't want to dominate or be dominated in the conversation. Finding the right mix is impossible; however, finding something close is pretty easy.
There are two definitions that are used to describe closed questions. One such definition is that a closed question can be answered with either a single word answer or short phrase response or can be answered with a “yes” or a “no.” Generally speaking, if you're on a date you want to engage your date and be engaged by them. As such, closed questions should be used to open a conversation; otherwise they should be kept at a minimum unless you have other follow up questions ready to go.
Some closed questions would be: ‘How are you?' or ‘How old are you?' and ‘is that a spork in front of you?'
Closed questions, in summary, can be used best when opening a conversation. For example, ‘Isn't it a nice day?' or ‘Where do you live?' Closed questions can also be used to test for understanding as well, to ensure that you understand your date. And, if you're a manipulative terd, then closed questions could be used to set a mood or even suggest a certain outcome… It's all in the delivery and how you ask these questions; and I'm not really here to tell you how to manipulate people. If I knew how I'd be earning a hefty pay check and not writing blogs.
An open question seeks, as its purpose, a lengthy response; quite the opposite of a closed question. Open questions require one to think and reflect; they require one to share opinions and feelings; and, most importantly, they allow one to pass control of the conversation to one another.
Some questions that fall in this category are: ‘How do you keep focused on school?' ‘What do you do for fun in your spare time?' and ‘What did you do this week?' These questions require reflection and thought and will give you a lengthier response. Such questions usually begin with: How, what, what and describe. But certainly there are a lot of ways to initiate an open question.
Open questions, as I stated, pass control and allow one to share the conversation with another person, in this case, their date. It can be scary to do that, though. However, a well-placed question leaves you in control as you can potentially steer their interest and engage them where you are most comfortable with them.
Balance, it's not just about getting the right amount of Fiber in your diet.
As for finding a good balance in conversation between two people on a date there's really no magic “rule,” so to speak. But mixing in a couple closed questions with an open question seems to work well for me… However, I find that if you are able to get your date to ask YOU open questions then you're definitely on the right track. This empowers you to intrigue you date with your wit, charm and awful jokes or intrigue your date with incomplete stories.