There's no fine art to chat on a first or second date - but if you've really got something in common with your partner, then mature dating chat should just flow naturally.
However, small talk is easier for some people than others and if you struggle to make polite conversation with work colleagues on the odd company night out you may need some help with your dating chat techniques.
So called "chat up lines" are pretty dodgy territory - it's difficult to deliver them without sounding really smarmy. You might get away with something like, 'What time do you have to be back in heaven?' but chancing something on the lines of, 'Let's go to my place and do the things I'll tell everyone we did anyway,' will probably just get you a contemptible look and the cold shoulder.
Generally speaking honest sensible observations or comments are going to be more natural than corny pre-planned lines. After all, if you have correctly established that a person may be interested in you from looks, smiles or attitude there is a fair chance that they will prefer to get the tough stuff out of the way quickly too.
The best advice when it comes to dating chat it just to relax and be yourself. Make sure you listen to what the other person has to say and respond to any questions with more than a monosyllabic answer. Talk about areas of shared interest - music, movies and holidays are always good topics - and they'll give you a sense of the other person's character.
If you can, have a few anecdotes to tell to break the ice or compliment your date in some way - everyone likes to be appreciated. Don't try too hard though, coming across as an endearing, warm-hearted soul is only a step away from giving an impression of being an ingratiating ball of slime.
Try to find a common interest to discuss. If you're really stuck for ideas talk about current affairs but make sure you look for cues from your date about their interest level. A monologue on the state of the nation won't go down too well with anyone. The same goes for sport. Make sure your date cares about your passion for football before monopolising the table with your enthusiasm.
In dating chat, particularly on first dates, there are also some topics that should be avoided at all costs:
Avoid being negative. If you've got problems in your life don't discuss them on the first date. Keep your image positive - you'll have plenty of time to discuss life's challenges later on in your relationship.
Don't talk about your exs - first dates should be all about the here and now and getting to know a new potential mate.
Don't spend all night boasting - a positive trait 'discovered' by your date will leave a far longer lasting effect.
Don't appear desperate. Don't talk about how long it is since you've had a date, about how your body clock is ticking or how you've always longed to get married.