Breaking the Ice

Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio

Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Besides being my dear OLDER sister’s birthday, April 10th is also recognized as National Golfers Day. Keeping little facts like this in your back pocket is a great way to break the ice when talking with customers, potential customers, and even co-workers or friends.

We know that people buy from people they know, like, and trust.  A way to be able to get people to know, like, and trust you is effective communication.  When meeting someone new or even starting a new conversation with people you already know, your objective should be to get them talking!  In order to do that, you may need to break the ice.

Here are five tips to break the ice:

1.    Practice. Practice. Practice: If you are uncomfortable striking up conversations, practice in safe environments.  Better to stumble at the grocery store or your church than with a potential customer.

2.    Diversify your interests: Not interested in sports or the latest cast of Dancing with the Stars?  While it is not possible to be an expert on everything, it may help to have some basic knowledge as to not be completely left out of conversations.  A simple, “the Indians had a big win last night” may be all you need to get the conversation started.

3.    Be unique: Commenting about the weather may be a safe place to start but standing out from the competition will help you get noticed. Figure out what makes you-YOU.  Consider adding an app to your phone that will alert you of all the days like National Golfers Day.  A man in my office tells me a joke every time I see him.  Become the bow-tie guy.  If you’ve ever been to Progressive Field in Cleveland, OH I’m sure you know the “Beer Guy”.  Establish your identity and embrace it.

4.    Embrace Rejection: Nobody likes rejection.  However, it is a fact of life.  Take a minute to complete this sentence “If I face rejection, the worst thing that will happen is…”.   The stakes may be a little higher if you are thinking about a job interview or a marriage proposal but in terms of breaking the ice, the consequences are very low.  Move on to the next person!

5.    Be sincere.  Dale Carnegie says it best in How to Win Friends and Influence People: “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”

While the types of questions to ask to break the ice will vary depending on the purpose of the conversation, your personality, and the person you are trying to speak to, here are 21 suggestions to get the conversation started in business situations.

I love to talk so feel free to practice breaking the ice with me!


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