From Icebreakers to IRL Dates: A Hinge Dating Coach’s Guide to Conversational Mastery

Got a date lined up? Fantastic. But are you ready for it? Are you ready to move past the one-liners and ice-breakers and onto serious conversation? 

Are you sitting there, making a mental or physical list of things to talk about, when the inevitable awkward silence sets in? If so, keep reading; this is the article for you. 

First, understand that conversational mastery is something that many men struggle with, especially regarding women and first dates. 

Texting has created a very unique communication dynamic in the modern era. Every word that comes out of your head is thought out, edited, and re-edited (and possibly re-edited) before you finally send them over.

You don’t have this luxury when sitting across from someone at the dinner table. You have to be able to think on your feet, respond with authenticity, and navigate the nuances of face-to-face interaction. 

And you must be calm, confident, and charming in the process. If that sounds like a ton of work, it’s because it is…

These aren’t things that come naturally to many men. These things are often learned through trial and error and only come with years of experience. 

If making a fool of yourself on your first date seems like a less-than-ideal scenario, the good news is that enlisting the help of a dedicated dating coach can help you avoid these pitfalls. 

With the proper guidance from someone who has already been there and done it themselves, you can avoid many of the most common mistakes. 

Instead of saying goodnight and then kicking yourself in the ass for saying something stupid, you’ll end the night planning a second date, a kiss, or even more. 

Why Real-Life Dates Are Different Than Online Dating 

The biggest mistake I see guys make is falsely believing that online chemistry translates to real-life chemistry. 

To be perfectly blunt: the messages you send online haven’t done anything yet; they don’t mean shit in the larger scheme of things. 

Text messages are just words. For example, you can manipulate your tone and overall energy through text. 

A man might be the most boring, monotone, humorless dude on the planet, but all he has to do is throw in a few emojis, some exclamation points, and the occasional ‘lol,’ and you’d never know the difference. 

And that’s really what all online dating ultimately comes down to: does your online persona, your digital self, match the man she now sees sitting across from her? 

Also, don’t for one-second kid yourself into thinking you’re not doing the exact same thing with her. You’re human, and she’s human; everyone is judging everyone else. 

Today, I’m going to cover nine ways you can become an IRL conversational master so your online persona perfectly matches the man you really are. 

If you take the advice presented in this article, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a man whose words resonate, captivate, and effortlessly bridge the digital divide. 

Ready to leave a lasting impression? Let’s begin. 

1. Be Honest With Her: Nobody Likes A Bullshit Artist

Before we get to anything, let’s ensure you’re not self-sabotaging yourself with your digital messages. 

Want to get your real-life meet-up off to a good start? Don’t start by making false promises or empty claims about yourself online. 

As enticing as it may be, your online dating profile isn’t a place to showcase your ‘ideal self’ or the man you’d like to be five years down the line. It’s about being as authentic as possible. 

If you want to let the real-life conversation flow as naturally as possible, don’t shoot yourself in the foot by putting a bunch of lies in your profile. Keep it simple: don’t tell your prospective date things about yourself that aren’t true. 

Because in the end, you’re just going to find yourself sitting there, mentally reviewing every word that comes out of your mouth. Trust me; you don’t want that. 

The number one goal on a first date is for both of you to be as comfortable as possible around each other. How can you expect to be relaxed when you’re constantly fact-checking your words? 

Don’t complicate things: don’t lie. 

2. Ditch The Digital Script And Embrace The Art Of Spontaneous Conversation 

Generally speaking, it’s always a good idea to be as prepared as possible for any situation, which is true when it comes to dates. But there are certain limits to it. 

By all means, reread her online profile, review the messages you sent each other, and do your best to have genuine conversation starters (i.e., questions about her that you genuinely want the answers to) in the back of your mind. 

Do not rely on scripted questions or cliche conversation starters to spit out when there’s a moment of silence between the two of you. 

The most meaningful conversations — the one’s that she’ll remember long after your date ends — are the ones that are spontaneous and genuine. 

And look, if you meet up with a girl and find yourself sitting there, not interested in two words coming out of her mouth, that’s perfectly fine. Acknowledge that it won’t work out, and get back out there. 

The problem I often see is that men feel such an anticipation building up to the first date that they force themselves to keep going even though their instincts clearly tell them it isn’t going to work. 

As disheartening as it may be, you have to learn to cut your losses and get on with your life. 

That being said, I also hear complaints that men struggle to articulate their thoughts when meeting a woman for the first time. They have many things they’d like to discuss but just can’t get the words out.

A professional dating coach can help you work through these shortcomings and teach you how to master the art of effortless and genuine conversation. 

Every man is different and has different things he needs to work on. Asking too many questions, not asking enough questions, talking about yourself too much, or not talking about yourself enough are the nuances you need to be mindful of. 

3. Get Animated: Master The Art Of Alpha Male Body Language 

When you’re on a real-life date, you can’t rely on emojis to convey your emotions — all you have is body language. 

And whether you realize it or not, your body language has more influence than the actual words coming out of your mouth. 

In terms of the substance of your words, you might be saying all the right things, but if your body language is off, you risk making her uncomfortable. 

It doesn’t matter what you’re saying if you’re sitting there, sweating profusely, stuttering and stumbling over your words. If your date says something that’s meant to be funny but isn’t, you can’t just type ‘lol’ out of courtesy. 

In real life, all you have is body language to back up your words, and if you’re not a master of body language, your conversation skills will suffer.

Again, the key is being comfortable. As the alpha, it’s your job to not only be comfortable but to make her comfortable as well.  

Every shrug, nod, head scratch, distracted glance, or fidget you make tells a story. For example, leaning in to hear her tell a story says more than words ever could. 

I’m sure you already knew this, but here’s the real question: are you aware of your own body language? Nine times out of ten, the answer is ‘no.’ 

Unfortunately, it’s impossible to be 100% aware of our body language because we see the world through our own perspective. 

That being said, body language is one of the most challenging traits to tackle alone. Professional coaching is the way for those who wish to excel in the art of alpha male body language.

4. Put Down Your Phone And Stay Tuned In, Because There’s No ‘Undo Send’ In Real Life

Whenever I find myself in a restaurant, I always get a kick out of watching couples meet for the first time. Far too often, I’ll see the man checking his phone every two seconds, not even trying to pay attention to the woman sitting across from him. 

(I see just as many women do this too, but that’s another topic entirely.) 

Gentlemen, if you do this, you need to stop right now. Nothing kills me more than watching a man lose points over not listening to what his partner is saying. 

If you make a mistake through text, you’re given ample opportunity to catch yourself. These days, you can edit texts, undo sent texts, or just use your wit to smooth it over. 

You can’t do that in real life. You can’t scroll through your messages to find out what she said while you weren’t listening. You have to pay attention. Period. 

And yes, I know that not everything your date talks about will be the most captivating topic of conversation. But guess what?  Not everything you say is going to grab her attention, either. 

Any long-term relationship is filled with a great deal of meaningless banter; that part is basically unavoidable. 

What is important is that you keep a healthy line of communication open so that your ‘good conversations’ (which should be most of your conversations) can thrive. 

And good conversation is hard enough as it is without having the distraction of a cell phone to deal with, so do everyone a favor and learn how to engage in face-to-face conversation. 

5. Strike A Balance And Don’t Dominate The Conversation 

All of us have a tendency to ramble if given the space to do so, but if you do it too much, you risk dominating the conversation. 

And if you dominate the conversation, you risk making her feel like you’re not interested in her — which may be the furthest thing from the truth. 

If you’re passionate about something, and that something comes up in conversation, you may find yourself in an extended monologue. 

While this is only natural, be mindful when this happens, and try to give pause so your date can digest your words. 

Beyond that, read the non-verbal cues. As I said, body language says way more than words ever can. You probably captured her interest if she’s leaning in, nodding, and maintaining eye contact. 

If she keeps checking her watch or phone, fidgeting, or looking around at something behind you, it could be a sign that you lost her. 

Check in from time to time, and ask for her opinion. Make it clear that you’re not just talking for the sake of talking and genuinely want her input on the subject. 

I am still waiting to see a couple where both partners have the same level of sociability. One person talks a little more; the other talks slightly less; this is only natural. 

So, assuming you’re in a similar situation and more talkative, always be mindful that you don’t inadvertently dominate the conversation. 

6. Become A Master Of Questions: Learn How To Be Inquisitive 

Conversations shouldn’t have a schedule. You should never feel like your communications are on a guided path and you’re just going through the motions. 

If you encounter this problem two, five, or ten years down the line, that’s one thing, but there’s no excuse for this to happen when things are first starting out. 

One of the most powerful things you can do is treat every conversation like an explorer. It’s your job to ask better questions — be more profound than the average person — and get to the heart of the story. 

For example, asking your date what she does for a living is all well and good, but asking ‘why’ she’s doing what she’s doing can open up a world of conversational opportunities. 

Indeed, one of the biggest problems I see is that so many men treat conversations like a checklist, but that’s the worst thing you can do. 

And look, you’ll inevitably ask a cliche question now and again, but you should always try to let conversations flow organically. This should be relatively easy if you show active engagement by asking follow-up questions. 

That being said, there are a lot of nuances to doing this correctly. I once had a client who told me his partners refused to open up to him; no matter how much he pressed, he felt like they all had barriers around them. 

Meanwhile, it was apparent from the onset that this gentleman had a severe problem with body language. Even when I was speaking to him, he never looked me in the eye, never asked a question, and generally seemed disengaged. 

Now, I know that these behaviors are usually a sign of deep-rooted insecurities, but it’s my job to know about these things. It IS NOT your date’s job to figure out your issues. 

You have to do whatever is necessary to create an environment that makes her feel safe and free from judgment. Ask her questions, and don’t be judgemental. No matter how alike two people are, they will always have differences. 

Some of the happiest couples I’ve ever met are those that know how to celebrate those differences. 

If you constantly feel like something is always ‘off’ on your first dates, you might have a similar problem to my former client. It might not necessarily be a body language issue, but you might have some unconscious trait pushing your potential partners away. 

This is why I always recommend getting an impartial — professional — opinion. My team of professional coaches and I can pinpoint what you’re doing wrong and guide you down the path of conversational mastery. 

7. Recover From The Fumble: The Art Of Bouncing Back Mid-Conversation 

Even the best quarterbacks occasionally fumble the ball, and even the best conversationalists will inevitably say the wrong thing from time to time. 

You can count on one of your questions or statements missing the mark at some point during your date — that much is given. The real test comes down to how you recover from them. 

One of the easiest things you can do is often the most overlooked: own the mistake. If you say something and can immediately tell it didn’t come out right, own up to it. Throw out an apology, or make a lighthearted joke about it. 

Sadly, far too often, a man will try to avoid that moment of discomfort by glossing over the fact that he just offended his date. Instead of taking ownership of his mistake, he’ll try to dismiss her feelings, turning the tables and putting the onus on her. 

Don’t do this. Not if you hope to get to a second date. 

By the same token, if (when) you say something wrong, keep your misstep intact. Don’t let it spiral out of control and ruin the night. 

If your date was otherwise going well, but you said something that soured the conversation, you can’t let it get in your head. Alpha male energy largely depends on your confidence level, so you must maintain it at all costs. 

As I mentioned before, you have to stay engaged in the present. Reading the cues is half the battle. If you can remain poised and smoothly move forward, the rest will fall into place naturally. 

8. Amp Up, Cool Down, And Match Her Energy Level 

The best DJs in the business know how to perfectly read the energy of the crowd in front of them, and a conversation functions much the same way. 

The conversation can stagnate if you’re too mellow and your date is doing most of the talking. At the same time, if you’re too passionate or intense, you can quickly overwhelm her. 

As always, the key is balance. All of us experience different moods throughout the course of a single day, and you need to gauge your date’s mood as quickly as possible so the conversational energy can match. 

Initially, try to mirror her energy level to build rapport. If she complains about having had a shitty day at work, she might be in a more reflective, contemplative mood.

If you start rambling about your exciting weekend plans, glossing over her current mood, you have little hope of keeping her engaged. 

That isn’t to say that the entire night needs to remain somber…

You can, and should, gently steer the conversation in a different direction as the night progresses. The key word there is ‘gently.’ 

An important thing to remember is that your date’s mood may not (and probably doesn’t) have anything to do with you. Between work and other stressors, you have no idea what she’s experiencing and what may be going through her head. 

Look, if she didn’t want to be there, she wouldn’t be there. Don’t delude yourself into thinking she just showed up out of sympathy and is putting on some act so you lose interest in her. 

If she texted you at 4 in the afternoon saying she was excited about your date at 7, then suddenly and inexplicitly had a mood change by the time she got there, don’t take it personally. 

Do your best to match your energy with hers and give her time and space to feel whatever she’s feeling. If you tell her to just ‘get over it’ or that she shouldn’t be upset, it will probably not end well (and that applies whether it’s your first date or your 100th). 

Takeaways

What’s the easiest way to measure your conversation skills? Simple: ask yourself what type of person you’d like to talk to. 

For most of us, healthy conversation is a balance between being heard and being interested in what the other person has to say. Why did you talk to your friends when you were a little kid? Because you had a genuine curiosity about what they had to say. 

Yes, it’s a little different when you’re an adult, but being simultaneously attentive and engaging still works as much today as it did back then. You have to be an active listener and an engaging conversationalist. 

And if you’re not that person already, as Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see.” 

Because no matter how you cut, no relationship can last without healthy conversation. Yes, you can string one along for quite a while based purely on physical attraction, but in the end, you need to be able to talk to each other. 

With deliberate effort and proper guidance, anyone can become a master of meaningful conversation. And that’s where our coaching program comes in. 

If you’re ready to take hold of your destiny and become the epitome of confidence in every romantic encounter, this program is for you. 

Just keep in mind that this isn’t something you sign up for lightly, and you should prepare yourself to do the work. If you’re okay with being challenged and pushed past your perceived limits, you can evolve into the best version of yourself. 

In the world of dating and beyond, we’ll equip you with the tools to master practically any social situation. The question is, are you ready for it? 

If you’re bold, tenacious, and aspirational enough to step up and make the most profound life change imaginable, there’s no better time to start than now. 

Ready to learn more? 

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