AoC Toolbox | Banter (Episode 409)

In this toolbox episode of The Art of Charm we’ll talk about the three characteristics you embody through banter, how to keep it playful throughout, and why you don’t have to be funny to be good at banter.

“A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything.” -Malcolm X

The Cheat Sheet:

  • Do you always have to be funny to create banter?
  • What is the conversation formula?
  • What are the three traits you want to embody through banter?
  • What is “yes and” and how does it apply to bantering?
  • How can you practice banter?
  • And so much more…


One of the keys to connecting with anyone is banter. Whether you’re hanging out at your third place or you’re out with your friends and spot someone you’d like to chat up, banter is the best way to strike up a conversation.

In this toolbox episode of The Art of Charm we’ll talk about the three characteristics you embody through banter, how to keep it playful throughout, and why you don’t have to be funny to be good at banter.

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More About This Show

Banter is a playful, lighthearted conversation between two strangers to ease the tension of getting acquainted. In this episode we’re primarily discussing how to use it to chat up someone you haven’t met before.

There are three traits or aspects of your personality you’ll be highlighting when using banter: your playful side, your lack of need for others’ approval, and your sexual side.

1. Your Playful Side

You open the conversation with this side of you. Ask your romantic interest a question like “What are you drinking?” or “Who are you here with?” or “Why are you out tonight?” A who, what, where, when, why, or how question is a good opener.

When they answer, come back with something playful. If you ask her what’s drinking and she says “cosmo,” tell her it’ll never work between you because your last girlfriend drank cosmos and she was a lush. Make it playful; smile with your lips and your eyes when you respond and you’ll put her at ease and give her a role to play.

2. You Don’t Seek the Approval of Others

This part of bantering comes next and it’s done by misinterpreting what is said to you.

Again, smile with your eyes and your mouth when you respond to let them know you’re being silly and playful — yet you are your own person who isn’t reliant on the approval of others. But be careful of overcompensating — there’s a fine line between a charming rogue and a boorish try-hard.

3. Sexual

We’ll let you learn directly from the AoC coaches during the show for this one.

Those are the three traits and the order in which to highlight them. You’ll want to practice these to get good at them; banter is definitely a muscle to be used daily. An improv class is a great way to practice banter, and so is chatting up people you interact with every day.

Check it out on this edition of The Art of Charm.


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Resources from this episode:

Worksheet for This Episode

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Other AoC Toolbox episodes


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Jordan Harbinger - author of 952 posts on The Art of Charm

Jordan Harbinger has spent several years abroad in Europe and the developing world, including South America, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East, and speaks several languages. He has also worked for various governments and NGOs overseas, traveled through war zones, and been kidnapped -- twice. He’ll tell you the only reason he’s still alive and kicking is because of his ability to talk his way into (and out of) just about any type of situation. Here at The Art of Charm, Jordan shares that experience, and the system borne as a result, with students and clients.

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