Short-setting: what is it and how does it work?
by Nick Hoss
I’m in Stockholm, Sweden right now for Project Rockstar, and we’re finding that these beautiful blondes don’t give you much response to work with in set. (Any response is a good response because it gives you some trigger words to keep the conversation going.) You won’t be running hour long sets here, so the next best thing is to short-set.
Short-setting is when you open, attract and leave a set within a couple minutes of opening as a means of building social proof and pre-selection. The idea is that you’ll build pre-selection or “warm up the venue” early in the night so all of your approaches will be warm approaches by the time the venue fills. It’s much easier to walk up and say, “Hey you two!” rather than doing a cold approach later in the evening.
Here are some keys to remember for short-setting:
Know your venue—Short-setting works best in small venues, college bars and parties (i.e. places where you can utilize the social proof), especially early in the night. If you’re in a Vegas club that is bigger than a football field, don’t bother. Ideally, you’ll not only be actively warming up sets for later, but also you’ll be gaining social proof. Once you’re getting a ton of approach invitations, you’re doing something right.
You don’t have to be Superman when opening—Early in the night, most people are not in the most social of moods. Some look shit-scared. The liquor hasn’t been flowing and girls and guys cling in their respective groups like kids at a high school dance. The act of going up to somebody and using a functional or situational opener will demonstrate that you are safe, friendly and socially adjusted. When you re-approach later in the night, you’ll be pegged as cool guy.
Open like you own the bar—You have to believe that people are social and will respond to you. The openers you use early in the night are often pretty safe, so the odds of getting back-turned are low anyway. (And if you do get back-turned, just assume the girls are nervous or not warmed up. You’ll be surprised to see how well they react later in the evening.) If you go in with decent energy and a friendly vibe, sets should open. Your goal is to open and be friendly so life is easier later in the night. That’s it.
Spike buying temperature then peace out—If you can tease, tell a quick story or fire off a spot-on cold read, you’ll pump the girls’ state, which will anchor you as a source of good emotions. In normal people words this means you’ll be remembered as a fun guy. The key is that you’re going to leave on a high note, and if you don’t hit it, you’re not going to burn the set to the ground trying to spike attraction. Just get out and re-approach from square one later on or merge sets.
I’ve found that if you qualify the girls too heavily and leave, you’ll kill it and be labeled a player. It’s effectively like saying “I’m going to make you win me over, then I’m going to walk off anyway and look for something better.” After qualification, it’s generally not an attraction builder to be seen blatantly hitting on other girls because you’ll be in comfort… and comfort means building commonalities, trust and togetherness. You’ll be fighting comfort if you qualify too heavily and keep short-setting. Open, spike, peace.
Merge sets and move sets—Later in the night, you’ll want to maximize your efforts by moving girls around and bringing sets together. Recently in New York, I opened a girl and pulled her into a throng of girls and made a big (positive) scene out of it. I got her number within five minutes and rolled into another set right beside. Not only did that social proof last me for that night, the girl, one who I thought would surely flake from such a short close, ended up calling me three nights later and bringing no less than 10 girls to our party. The social proof of rolling off into another set did the work for me, confirming everything attractive about me. Pre-selection is your biggest friend at night.
Merging sets is much easier than you think, and it’s a lot of fun when you get comfortable coordinating drunk strangers. Do it by running an opinion opener on a second set while you’re with your first one. The girls in your first set turn into wingmen for you initially. This is terribly fun when girls from both sets like you and it displays a lot of social value and pre-selection.
The fly-by—This is my favourite part of short-setting. Whenever you’re leading a girl through the bar and an earlier set walks by, say hi or playfully poke the second girl or do whatever you’ve done to spike buying temperature before. Then leave it. Do this once or twice, no more. It’s a playful little takeaway, much the same as when you’re talking to a girl and that douchebag she knows comes into your set and she jumps up and hugs him. It shows a bit of a willingness to walk away and spikes more attraction.
Pick and stick—By the end of the night you’ll either have girls placing themselves in your path or you’ll hook one along the way worth locking down. When this happens, just say, “It’s you and me tonight. Nobody else.” Other girls can come up to you or you can say hi to them, and this just creates more attraction between you and the girl you’re with, just don’t go a lurkin’ once you’ve qualified her.
The best guys I’ve been out with know how to harness social proof and pre-selection. If you can consistently get attraction in sets, try short-setting. It takes a bit of practice, but you can make your night much easier by doing it.