Perfect Your Conversation Skills

Lesson 10/15 - Elements of Witty Banter


Perfect Your Conversation Skills


Lesson Info

Elements of Witty Banter

Elements of witty banner, always the goal, right? This is the always the goal no matter where you start. You're shy, you want to get better, but then eventually you want to be, this is what you want to be labeled, right? You want to be labeled as someone with witty banter. It's a very broad term. What is witty banter? So, it's a very broad term with many, many definitions. The way I essentially like to talk about it is a series of remarks that are quick, clever, smart, humorous. It's all these things at once: disarming, vulnerable, funny. All those things at once are in this word witty. Again, no matter where your starting point is, we always have it in our mind to be good at witty banter. If we break it down a little bit, it's also the ability to think quickly, link unrelated topics, topics that are not on the surface related, point out observations, so again this thread of being more observationally fluent always comes up. Make the familiar appear novel. This is one of my favorite th...

ings is what do two Pringles hugging look like? Butt. But the point is you make something familiar appear novel. Butt, okay (chuckling). The point is to link unrelated topics, make observations, and label. Combining unrelated topics is also additionally witty, because what you're doing is taking an observation, and you're taking the extra level of analysis, comprehension to make them work together. So you might also be familiar with this type of thing, because for stand up comedians it's called a callback. Very popular in stand-up. Callbacks are essentially when you mention a previous topic in the context of the current topic. For stand-ups they might do something like making the same joke, or two different jokes, with the same punchline. For example, here we have old topic dogs, new topic roller coasters. Maybe the conversation goes, "Man, I really like dogs. "I love dogs." The new topic goes, "My gosh, I just cannot "get enough of roller coasters." So the way to all that back is to bring dogs into the current topic. I'd better get a tall dog so we can get taller than all those must be taller than signs so it can go on roller coasters with me. Thank you. Thank you for the laugh. Which I know it's not funny when you break it down like that, but spontaneously and in conversation that is, essentially, what witty banter feels like. Combining two topics in ways you wouldn't have thought of before, and it makes you appear to be this term witty. Let's try again. This time I'll kind of solicit from you guys. Topic one: Russia. Topic two: coffee. So the way you're gonna do this is what are the traits, what are the primary and secondary traits, of each thing, each concept? Then you're gonna find overlaps. How are they similar? Where do they overlap? Story links, by which I mean, by which I mean how can you put these two into a story together in a way that makes sense. Do we have any ideas so far, so yeah? I like my coffee like I like Russia, or-- Cold. Like Russia, cold and harsh. There ya go. I don't know if it's harsh, Just cold. That's perfect. That's perfect. Cold and icy, cold and on ice. (mumbles) (chuckling) That's perfect though, that's exactly what you did, you combined two topics. What are some other traits of either Russia, coffee, or how they're similar, anyone? People in the morning are usually Russian to get their coffee. Oh wow. That's good. People in the morning are usually Russian to get their coffee. (chuckling) That's really good. I wish I thought of that. Okay. Well that's what it makes me think of right, so Zangief is like a Russian character from a video game, like a wrestler or something, Russia's cold. Vodka, these are just the super, superficial traits, right. Coffee is hot, caffeinated, refreshing. Obviously the mind goes somewhere like, well you find yourself in St. Petersburg, you better have a lot of coffee for the vodka hangover. Right? And again, the callback constructions, they are not funny when you break it down like this. I'll fully admit that, but it's doing it in the heat of the moment, in the heat of a conversation, taking this extra level of comprehension where you're combining topics and combining them in interesting, unexpected ways that really makes you appear to be witty. Have witty banter. Initiating a joke and staying in the joke is another key to witty banter. I do wanna make the distinction between initiating a joke versus making a joke. When you're initiating a joke, you're inviting participation, as opposed to when you're making a joke, you're basically inviting them to laugh, which is a very big difference. A joke has a punchline or initiating a joke, no punchline, it's just this comment. So that's what we're doing here is initiating, and the easiest way to initiate a joke is to intentionally misconstrue a statement or question. This sounds like a lot of abstract stuff right now. But that is part of the point where you do have to practice this creativity and thinking outside the box and perhaps thinking out of your comfort zone to get good at these things. So how do we initiate a joke, how do we intentionally misconstrue a statement or question? Well the easiest way is to make a false and outlandish assumption. This one statement, "I went to the Apple Store today." The false and outlandish statement is, they're rich because Apple products are so expensive, even though everyone has them. So the joke here or initiating the joke here is, "Oh okay, did you just feel like spending $1,000 casually, "just for fun?" Now you're in the joke, if they take it. If they say, "What, I don't get what you mean," then sorry (chuckles), no witty banter can be achieved in that instance. But if you have successfully initiated the joke, what next? What next after you misconstrue the statement? So let's assume that the first person is in on the joke, right, so they say, "Okay, yeah, no, not $1,000, "I had coupons so it made to $900." That means they're in the joke, and when you get in that, it's like roleplay, you stay in it, you stay in character. You agree and amplify. I'm gonna show you what I mean by that. This joke is about Apple being expensive, so how do you agree and amplify that? You say, "Yeah, that's true. "Apple is so expensive, $900 is okay, but, "you can only buy a pair of headphones "and a screen protector with that. "What are you gonna do with that?" So that's how you've amplified that statement, you've agreed with it, you've amplified it to the point of absurdity, outlandishness, and banter, really. So see how that just seems to flow so effortlessly, because two people are in on it. The initiation of the joke has gone well. The other person actually complied with it, and then it's up to you to keep in it, agree and amplify it and continue on with it. That's initiating a joke. This might be my favorite part. This is the same structure, agree and amplify, basically, allows you to become a witty comeback machine, otherwise known as self-deprecating humor. There's one simple key to this. Someone insults you, that's great. You say the insult to the 10th degree. "Patrick, your shoes are so dirty." Know what I say, "Yeah, the smell made the paint "peel in my closet, they are dirty." That's it, that's the key to all witty comebacks is you agree and you amplify. You might think that it's well, I don't know, what would you think? You might think that it makes you feel vulnerable. You might think that you're attacking or injuring yourself, but no, it makes you appear, it makes you appear like you can take the joke, you can stay in the joke, and you're smarter than them, so you can actually up the joke. That's the key to a witty comeback. See, another one, insult, insult to the 10th degree. "Your hair cut is messed up." "Yeah, you know when you mow a lawn "when the lawn mower explodes?" "That happened." So that's what we do, we just stay in the joke, assume they initiated a joke and stay in it, agree and amplify and that's how you basically become a witty comeback machine in just one step. Agree, well, two steps, agreeing, and then amplifying and staying in it. Why does this work? Well, I used to be a fat kid. No problem saying that. I was overweight when I was a child, teenager, still overweight. There was another fat kid. I should come up with another (chuckles), there was another overweight adolescent also in class with me. I don't know we were about the same level of roundness, we were the same weight. I could take a joke just because I could do that, but you know what he did, he would get super defensive, he would get angry, he would lash out at people. Big difference in how people talked to us, treated us after that, because if you get defensive when someone does this to you, says anything negative to you, well, you're gonna make enemies, people are gonna walk on eggshells around you. You make them super uncomfortable, but if you can display that you can take a joke, you have a sense of humor about yourself and you're vulnerable, you can be vulnerable, you're Teflon instead, everything flies off you. Hey Patrick, question that just came in from the chat room, this one was posted by Smurfy, and Smurfy wants to know, how do you move from witty banter into a more deep conversation, is there like a transition between a witty line, kind of get into a more serious conversation? I think all that happens is that the joke, that either person initiates just comes to a natural end. The natural end of a joke like that... To a joke like this would just be someone laughing and not agreeing and amplifying it. You say, "Oh, that was a good one," or, "Oh, that was funny." And then, that's basically how you do it, so the key is to know what happens when the joke ends. And then it's just the same as anything else where you initiate conversation, conversation topics as normal, as normally. Is that? Yeah, great answer. Okay. Thank you. Where are we at, okay, any other questions from you guys, witty banter? You feeling wittier already? (chuckles) I will say that for these, yeah, these are a little mechanical and clinical, how you break it down. But yeah next time, yeah, oh please, please. I was just thinking about a question a person was asking about how to transition from the witty banter to the deep conversation. I'm trying to think about the framework, would you use a witty banter initially in the beginning to develop comfort with the person before you're able to disclose deepness to it, and it's sort of, you stop with the witty banter, develop a familiarity, a comfort, someone was like, I'm talking to you as a friend before I then disclose deeper stories about myself. I think it actually organically happens afterwards, because if you try to do this with someone that you're not familiar with, no one has any idea who's kidding or who's serious, and that, right, so, someone's gonna get insulted. So I think witty banter is something after, well two things: after you think they can take that kind of joke and you think they can engage that and understand that or you just test them out to see where they're at. So it's not necessarily something that you do at the beginning to build rapport. So here we go, to the final part of witty banter, it's about making humorous observations about the interaction itself. So for those of you that have seen the movie Ferris Bueller's Day Off, a lot of movies, a lot of TV shows really, it's called breaking the fourth wall. In the movie, he speaks directly to the camera. He's speaking to the audience, he's breaking the fourth wall. He's making a meta comment, if you will, where he's commenting on the interaction itself. Making a comment on the conversation. Most of the times it helps to make a positive observation about the conversation. If you make a negative one, it can sound like you're being judgmental, it can sound just, it can sound like you're calling someone stupid, so what I mean by this, what does this look like in practice? "Wait, wait, did you just? "Did you just reference the Spice Girls in this "conversation about being a doctor?" Right, so that's somewhere where you break the fourth wall, you make a comment about the conversation, in a positive way. "Hold on, are we actually talking about this? "This funny subject that we're talking about? "I thought we were at work." It's fine. Something funny happens, something interesting, something salacious happens, "Okay, "so now this conversation's going somewhere, "what do we have here?" And finally something like, "Wow, can't believe that topic came up. "Here we are now, what do we do?" Right? Like your double nap, it just comes up. "I can't believe that came up." You make it a positive observation about the conversation, about the topic, about the environment, about the context, about whatever you're observing. Notable, funny, oddball observations. Elephant in the room. The thing with breaking the fourth wall in meta comments is, everyone else is probably thinking it already. So take that first step to actually saying it, and everyone gets on the same level. You'll always get the comment of something to extent of, "Oh my gosh, yes, that's true. "I'm so glad you said it. "Yeah, I feel exactly the same way." That's what happens when you point these things out in the conversation. And again, this just requires a tiny bit more observation skills than we're currently employing in our daily lives. I can see that's a really good tool to use talking about current events that you may not have really want to delve into. And I've seen some of it go on, but just didn't recognize it as, "Yeah, that's what that was," you kind of get a topic, current events, gets a little uncomfortable and you can kind of turn it around and make a joke about it and move on. That's right. You say, "Whoops, this conversation has gotten too, "this conversation really escalated, didn't it? "Let's move onto something else." Is that kinda what you mean? Yeah. Whoops, we probably shouldn't talk about the election right now on the air. Let's move on. Yeah. (chuckles) Yes. Yeah. But that's I guess what you're saying, right? That's exactly what I'm saying and it's nice to hear that and see that's already kind of going on but see how you can use it for a tool, not just for that but for things that are funny, but for things that are uncomfortable that you wanna move on without making everyone uncomfortable about it. Yeah, 'cause chances are, again, yeah, if you're uncomfortable, other people are too. If you're seeing something or observing something, other people are too. Patrick we just had a similar question come in from Louis, and Louis wants to know, says, "I'm a literal person and I answer actual questions "when I get them. "I'm hearing a lot from you about the importance "of insights and seeing beyond the literal. "This is extremely difficult for me. "Am I just out of luck or are there hacks "to understanding insights like this for people like me?" People who think really literally, how do they kinda, you just add the context to the questions, how do they get to that point? I think you just need to pretend that people aren't asking you that question, in my opinion. If you're asking, and I guess this is talking about what we were talking about earlier too is, how to not answer questions literally. Just mentally rephrase that they wanna hear something else. Instead of, "How's your weekend?", pretend that they're asking you, "Can you please tell me "two or three interesting things about a weekend "that you had in the past month?" And that's a much easier question to ask. It begs a better answer because when you ask specific questions, you get specific answers. How's that feel? That's good, yeah. Good answer, thank you. Okay, all right. Well does she mean it, or does he or she mean it also with basically getting into a joke and not seeing the joke? It's hard to tell, that was the question as it was posted, I read it as it was posted, but yeah, I think it could apply to different situations. Yeah, that's the thing. And we'll kinda get into this later but conversation, as I mentioned, conversation, there's very few actual purposes, especially social conversation. If you're just taking it literally, every question at face value, what are you actually talking about and engaging in people with? Part of the reason that we have conversation is pleasure, entertainment, fun, play, socializing, so if you can't do those things, then I wonder what your conversations are sounding like. How do you talk to your friends? What do you talk to your friends about?

Class Description

Whether you want to charm and befriend strangers, be a better networker in professional situations, or become charismatic and bold instead of nervous and lost in social situations, Perfect Your Conversation Skills, with Patrick King will get you there.

This class will teach you repeatable tips and tools to allow you to command any social situation. Bestselling author and conversation coach Patrick King will give you the blueprint for social success even if you’re the furthest thing from a natural conversationalist.

Just a few of the things you’ll learn:

  • How to break the ice with complete strangers in any situation 
  • His proven formula for directing the flow of a conversation 
  • How to avoid awkward silences, long pauses, and other conversational dead ends 
  • Tips for building your self-confidence before important social events 
  • The trick to “owning the room” without being fake or annoying 
Never feel boring or uninteresting in networking opportunities or social situations - instead, look forward to them with excitement!


a Creativelive Student

I would never have thought you could teach conversational skills. But Patrick's information is brilliant and does just that. Even just a few of his techniques have changed my ability to have a successful and fun conversation with anyone. A lot of the suggestions are actually easy to put into practice, even if you're shy. I'm so grateful for this course.

April S.

I'm listening in to a rebroadcast of this course. I am fairly confident in certain kinds of social situations with having conversations but I had to be very intentional about learning to do that over the years. Patrick's course has affirmed some things I was doing naturally so I know I'm on the right track, and he also gave lots of great tips about reading people to determine whether they are interested in the conversation, simple conversations starters and enders, and keeping a conversation moving. I gleaned some useful techniques in a short time and will definitely put them into practice. For anyone who wants to hone their ability to converse with others, as well as anyone who really struggles in this area, I think you'll find some very helpful explanations and techniques.