Our colleague Frank wasn’t meeting enough women. Until we forced him to approach a different woman every day.

The Tester

Somewhat shy, 
single 20-something guy with modest game

THE GOAL

To improve at small talk. As Internet dating gains popularity, guys are losing their social skills, including the ability to talk to women, says dating coach Richard La Ruina, author 
of the new book The Natural (R125, kalahari.com).

THE Prescription

(1) Stay engaged: pocket your cellphone, play pool, chat with the bartenders, hit the dance floor. She’ll see you as social, confident and competent – all factors that will contribute to her first impression of you when you speak to her, says La Ruina.
(2) Don’t lead with “Hi, my name is _____.” It’s invasive and too open-ended. A better angle is to make the conversation situational. At a live gig? Start chatting with a girl by asking her about the band’s fashion choice.
(3) Never ask a yes-no question, says La Ruina. It limits her involvement in the conversation and makes it too easy for things to stall out. So instead of asking her if she likes to go out dancing, ask her, “What kinds of things do you like to do when you’re out with your friends?” Then shut your mouth, smile, and nod as she opens up to you. She’ll love you for being a “good listener”.

THE VERDICT

“As long as you are calm, confident and witty in your approach, women will respond favourably to you. It always helps to have a few conversation openers in the back pocket if you can’t think of something to say about the current situation or surroundings. Bottom line though, a little bit of confidence goes a long way. Get out of your comfort zone and gain confidence. As George Clooney said in Three Kings, ‘You do the thing you’re scared shitless of, and you get the courage after you do it – not before you do it.’ Talking to women? No big deal. Ever.” – FRANK HERMUS