3 Tips on How To Break the Ice

It’s happened to you at least once in your business lifetime. You’re at the company picnic, at a networking event, or at your industry’s national convention surrounded by people you don’t know. All around you there are streams of conversation that sound inviting. Yet, you’re tongue-tied and can’t seem to speak. Sound familiar?

Breaking the ice and entering into a conversation can seem daunting or intimidating. This is especially true if you’re shy or an introvert. Here are a few ways to break the ice at networking events, company meetings, or at that big industry trade show.

1. Ask Open-Ended Questions
Don’t ask any question. Ask an open-ended question that allows the person to open up and talk about themselves. The keys are to pick up any common interests to extend the conversation and learn more about that person. This helps with relationship-building.

2. Bring A Friend
I use this one quite often. When in doubt about the networking event, I bring someone along with me. More than likely, they know someone at the event and I can be introduced. It’s always great to expand your circle of influence.

3.  Get An Introduction
If you see someone you would like to meet at the event, ask someone you know for an introduction. This allows you to be comfortable in the “circle” and ask questions. Having a mutual acquaintance gives you some credibility with the person you would like to meet.

Bonus Tip: Find the Right Opening At the Right Time
The key to finding the right opening is to listen around you. If you know you can solve a problem that someone has, don’t be afraid to jump in and introduce yourself. The key is to jumping in at the right time (just like jump rope).

Do you have any ideas on how to break the ice? Please post and share!

Photo: Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos

Comments

  1. These are awesome tips, Kristen! I find that I cycle through waves. Sometimes, I can make conversation so easily and other times, my mind whirs nonstop as I think of how to break in. To build on the idea of asking open-ended questions, I often try to ask questions about the other person. Even if we have nothing in common, I find that I can learn about a new career or interest through my new talkmate. =)

  2. These are great tips, Kristen. I would add an ice-breaker that I use—find something to appreciate about the person and start the conversation with a compliment. Everyone likes to feel appreciated and as long as you are sincere, it will get a nice response, and you will definitely get their attention!

  3. Everytime I bring along a friend to an event, we both end up just talking to ourselves. The introduction ALWAYS work…you just got to need to ask people!

    Nicely explained.

    • Thanks Hajra! I always ask two people who I want to connect to attend the event so I can introduce them to each other.
      The introduction works very well! 🙂

  4. Hi Kristen, I used to have difficulty breaking the ice but I have learned that people like to share information about themselves and ask open ended questions work well for me. It’s not an interview because when they share information that I can relate to, we discuss it further. Another point is that, I try to find some common ground and that helps in building a better connection.

  5. I was going to add complimenting as well, I see it has been mentioned in the comments already. It is such an easy way to break the ice. Everyone enjoys a compliment!

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