The Sherlock Holmes Method to Always Having Something to Say

January 30th, 2013 by Nick Notas 5 Comments

Sherlock Irene Adler BBC

BBC’s Sherlock is Mr. Holmes done brilliantly. While watching the first episode, I thought about how perceptive he is and how that influences his conversations.

Sherlock is never at a loss for words because he has so much content to work from. When guys tell me they struggle with talking to women, it’s usually since they’re not paying enough attention. Instead, they’re listening to their own inner voice and missing out on crucial details. You need to become fully immersed in your environment.

What I love most about Sherlock is that his “science of deduction” and keen observational skills are learnable. While you won’t be able to match his fictional expertise, you can greatly improve your own abilities with regular practice.

1. Open your ears…and eyes…and mind…and more…

Listening is at the core of good conversation and Sherlock is an incredible listener. The second he enters a room, he uses all his senses to take in every detail. He could walk into a venue and notice subtleties about a woman like…

  • She’s drinking with her left hand.
  • She’s wearing heels but seems to be fidgeting uncomfortably with them.
  • She’s with a group of guys and girls but is glancing around at other men.

As he walks towards her he recognizes…

  • She has a small flower tattoo on her inside wrist.
  • She reached for her phone and is swiping around aimlessly.
  • She’s wearing a locket necklace.

Then he approaches to introduce himself. She replies and he notices that…

  • She has a slight accent.
  • She has a floral, fruity perfume on.

As they start talking, he is listening intently to her responses. He picks out individual words or concepts in her sentence. He then uses those as “hook points” to fuel his next statements or questions. He even pays attention to which topics are getting her passionate so that he can delve deeper and more personal.

You have to understand that effective listening is much more than hearing spoken words at face value. It is visual, it is audible, it is subtext, it is emotion, it is how something is said, and so on.

When meeting women, I want you to be as observant as possible before and during your interactions. Think outside the box:

  • What is she saying?
  • How is she saying it?
  • Is there a play on words?
  • What is she wearing?
  • What does she smell like?
  • What are your surroundings?
  • What was she doing before you approached?
  • Why is she opening up to you at this moment?

I know this may seem overwhelming at first but it won’t be. When you shut up and listen well, you will always have something to say. You won’t stress over what to talk about next and put pressure on yourself. You can relax and the words will come to you naturally.

A good rule of thumb is that if you can’t even remember her name, you are not listening well.

2. Recognize and pick your hook points

Now that you’ve listened and observed for “hook points”, let’s narrow them down. Always focus on one idea at a time…but how do you choose? Ask yourself:

What do I want to talk about? What would I care to learn about her? What interests me?

A huge problem guys have with women is they don’t talk about subjects that engage them. They ask lame questions. They stay on discussions that don’t inspire them. They stick to safe and boring. Or, they micromanage their words based on what they think she will want to hear or discuss.

All of that comes off inauthentic and girls feel it. It also leads to generic conversations that are forgettable. You won’t get much laughter or create any sexual tension, either.

Choose a hook point that you actually care about. They come in one of two forms:

Verbal hook points

These are words or concepts from her responses.

For example she says, “My roommate and I just drove back from seeing Dave Matthews Band in Virginia Beach. I’m dreading the paper I have to do tomorrow…” Potential hook points are:

  • She’s friends with her roommate.
  • She took a road trip (traveling from Boston to Virginia)
  • She’s in school (has a paper to write)
  • Dave Matthews Band
  • She likes DMB (she’s probably chill and drinks / smokes recreationally)

Non-verbal hook points

These are non-spoken observations you have seen, heard, smelled, or felt. From the Sherlock example, we can deduce some of the following:

  • She is left-handed (holding drink with dominant hand).
  • She’s uncomfortable in her heels (fidgeting).
  • She’s likely single (no wedding ring, glancing around while with friends).
  • She may be a bit rebellious or creative (tattoo in a visible place).
  • There’s probably something inside the locket. It could be special or sentimental.
  • She’s not a local (accent).

3. Relate back through honesty

Using the hook point we chose above, we need to relate with her or ask genuine questions. Consider:

  • How does that make me feel?
  • What do I know about the subject matter?
  • What do I want to know about the subject matter?
  • What is my opinion on it?
  • Do I have a funny or interesting story related to it?
  • Can I joke or tease about it?
  • What can be inferred? Can I make an educated guess about her? You can’t always do this but when you get it right it makes you seem attentive, intelligent, and that you already “get” her.

4. Put it into action

Speak from the heart and dig deep. The more you align with your real self, the more natural this will become.

Verbal hook points

Me: “I went with a friend to a Dave Matthews show at Fenway. I don’t listen to them normally but damn do they put on an awesome live show.”

Me: “Sounds like an epic road trip. You Dave Matthews fans are serious business, huh?” *teasing her*

Me: “Tell me about it…how are you going to get it done when you’ll be texting me all day?” (on writing her paper)

Non-verbal hook points

Me: “You know what they say about left-handed people? Brilliant, creative, but absolutely nuts.”

Me: “I had to come introduce myself, us lefties have to stick together ya know.” *playfully*

Me: “I don’t know how you can stand in those things all night.” (on her high heels)
Her: “I can’t wait to get home and just rip them off.”
Me: “Neither can I…wait did I just say that out loud?” *smirking*
Her: “Wow…you’re bad” *shoving playfully*
Me: “You have no idea…”

Me: “A wrist tattoo is a bold statement. Do you have any others I should know about?” *raising an eyebrow*

Me: “I know this is personal but I have to ask…what’s in the locket? Please don’t say it’s a picture of your cat.”

Me: “Awww, I think you’re secretly starting to like me!”
Her: “Really, what makes you so sure?”
Me: “It’s all in the details. You haven’t stop smiling for the last five minutes and we’ve drifted further and further away from your friends.”

For additional examples, here are some recent encounters I’ve had…

  1. A student asked me to demonstrate an approach at a mall. I began walking over without any idea of what to say. I saw her checking out headbands. As I approached, she put down one with a butterfly design and picked up a polka dot one.

    Me: “Go with the butterflies, they looked way better on you.”
    Her: “Oh my god, thank you! That’s the one I really liked but I wasn’t sure.”
    Me: “Mhmm, no contest. What’s your name?”
    Her: “I’m ….”

    I genuinely liked they way the first headband looked over the other. It came off as authentic and direct. This started the conversation on a strong note and she actually asked for my number 3 minutes later before I even could.

  2. Me: “What made you go with electric blue?” (her nail color)
    *She looks puzzled for a second.*
    *I lift my hand to show her my nails.*
    Her: “Oh haha, my friend and I spent the afternoon just messing around. Thought I would try something different.”
    *I lean over and wrap my arm around her waist*
    Me: “Don’t tell anyone but I do the same when I’m bored sometimes.”
    *We both start laughing.*

    I’m interested in both male and female fashion. I love understanding how people share their personalities through visuals. Her nails were a vibrant color; I liked them and was interested in her choice. She opened up, I made a silly joke, and created a fun dynamic.

  3. I was standing against the bar wall in front of some jackets speaking with my client. A girl walked over with her friend and pointed through me at her friend’s jacket.

    Her: “Hey that’s definitely yours.”
    Me: “I’m flattered but I’m definitely not hers.” *grin*
    Her: “What? Oh hahaha….well you could be.” *They both giggle*
    Me: You should introduce me then.”
    Her: “Of course! This is Ashley…”

    I could have moved out of the way or said “sorry” and missed out on a great opportunity. Instead, I recognized an opportunity to play on words and add some humor into the mix. They loved it and stayed to talk with us.

  4. A client told me he struggles with getting out of a generic conversational rut. He gave me the example of careers. Whenever a girl explained what she did, he said stuff like “Do you like it?” “That’s cool, what town do you work in?”

    He didn’t actually care if they liked the job or where it was. I told him next time the topic of careers came up, that he was not allowed to fall back on fake replies. Coincidentally, it happened during his next interaction…

    Her: “I’m an attorney.”
    Me: “Oh…” *He didn’t know what to say next because of the rule we discussed*
    Her: “Is there something wrong?”
    Me: “Not at all, I just have to watch my words around you. To be honest, I don’t know who I trust less — sales people or lawyers.” *said with a devious smirk*
    Her: “Oh my god, that is so not true! I’m a good person, I’ll prove it to you!”
    Me: “Haha, we’ll see…”

    Up until that point, their chat had been bland. There was no tension between them. He ended up speaking what he really felt. It was ballsy and she was taken aback by how blunt he was.

    From that, she started qualifying herself to him. She wanted to show that she didn’t fit the stereotype. She was now chasing him.

I didn’t improve my wit or learn how to talk in various situations overnight. I made a conscious effort to improve my Sherlock skills every day and you should, too.

Observe others and study the unique details about them until it becomes a habit. Soon, you’ll link your hook points together to make smooth, honest conversation.

What tips have helped you talk to women? Comment below!

  1. Wesley on February 27, 2013

    I love the blog. Thank you for writing up these posts. I’m going to be traveling for the new couple weeks, and I will try to employ these tips.

    • Nick Notas on March 1, 2013

      Thanks and you’re welcome. Best of luck!

  2. Roya on May 9, 2013

    This is so helpful thank you! I love this post!

  3. Johnny Vice on May 22, 2013

    Awesome content! I was looking for a new reference to my clients on the subject and this fits perfectly. Care to let me translate and post it on my site with full linked credits?

    Cheers from a fellow dating instructor in Brazil.

    –JV

  4. john doe on July 20, 2013

    How often did you meet #2 before she got comfortable enough to allow your hand around her waist?