For those of you scoring at home, The Cheesecake Test may, for you, supersede the old Charisma Arts Vacuum Theory. The challenge for us in conversation with a stranger we want to connect with is one of getting the other person involved and invested in the conversation with us. However, this doesn't happen when the other person feels forced to interact with us. Put pressure on people with questions or demands or a feeling that they're being manipulated and you can create a cycle of diminishing returns.
"So where are you from?"
"What are you doing here?"
"Uh, I don't know what to say next. Should I ask another question?"
"I'm thinking not."
You can be as tricky as you like, but anytime you push someone towards an outcome, they can sense it and you're thinking the wrong way. Return to Go.
I got an email from a phone coaching client yesterday. He's been going on dates and meeting women. He wrote something I think helpful for everyone to read. He wrote, "I do think the best interactions I've had have been those, when there was, for a time, no goal, nothing but two people having fun."
Truer words were never written.
Yes, we all want to make friends, make sales, turn attractive strangers into lovers. We HAVE social goals. But part of that process is setting aside those goals and just being with someone. I have a test I like that helps us understand this: The Cheesecake Test.
Here's the Cheesecake Test
Imagine sitting across a table from a friend. You place, between the two of you, in the middle of the table, a slice of cheesecake that you baked. I know you may be a manly man and the only baking you've experienced might be the self-inflicted herbal variety. But please, just humor me.
Cheesecake Test Rule #1 You pass the test if you can induce the other person to take a bite out of the cheesecake.
So how are you going to get your friend to try the cheesecake?
You could insist that your friend eat your cheesecake. "Take a bite. It's delicious. It won't kill you." But that will just drive them off and make them think that you're weird. And that brings us to the second rule.
Cheesecake Test Rule #2: You fail the test if you apply force to the other person in any way either explicit or subtle.
So what are you going to say or do to get your friend to take the cheesecake?
The answer is: Do nothing. Cheesecake doesn't need any help. Practice patience. Sooner or later the thought of how that cheesecake will taste will overwhelm the other person's better dietary judgement. They'll reach for the fork.
People love meeting and getting to know new people personally and sexually. Instead of feeling as if you have to force the issue, set back and practice patience. Maybe make your cheesecake more tempting. Pour strawberries and creme on top. Resist the urge to make something happen. You don't have to force anyone to eat cheesecake. Just wait make good cheesecake.
I was at the coffee shop earlier today and I saw an attractive girl. I smiled warmly at her and did nothing to continue the interaction. I just waited. A few minutes later she turns around and made an excuse to talk to me. During our talk I could have forced the conversation with questions but I didn't. Instead I made some tempting statements (the type we teach in Conversation Camp) and calmly let the appeal of meeting someone new do its thing. Pretty soon she was making the conversation more personal. I didn't need to make something happen. That can come later.
And then… Well, that's another story for another time. :) Suffice it to say, we had a positive interaction.
Make your interaction tempting at every level while not applying force. That's the charismatic way.
Want to make more tempting metaphorical cheesecake? Join the legion of Charisma Artists.