Improving your conversational skills lands huge perks on your professional and personal image. Especially during networking events, you must know how to approach people and keep the chats smoothly flowing. However, not all individuals have this ability. Failing to be a good talker can lead to your doom. Well, maybe not literally, but its metaphoric meaning spells a social interaction disaster. Such as, catching yourself stuck in long and weird silences, or being a part of hideous awkward discussions. Thus, to prevent this nightmare, you need to be prepared. Learn how to use these phrases, and you will be ready to face any social gatherings. Here are 8 ice breakers that could lead to your network expansion:
#1 Hello, I am..
Learning how to introduce yourself properly is a mandatory knack. It’s a basic skill everyone has to know. All you need to do is to keep your confidence sturdy, flash out a genuine smile, put out a tight handshake, and make eye contact. Say your name clearly, and you’re off to a good start.
#2 What are you up to?
Be curious, be intrigued. Keep asking questions to sustain the stream of thoughts and talks. People love to speak about their selves. Know more about them, and try to discover what they do in life and their passion. This is one of the basics you need to acquire to turn yourself into a confident and interesting talker.
#3 What business venture are you on?
You can use this phrase when you’re in corporate or business events. Open-ended questions are perfect to prolong the conversation. Depending on the gathering you’re in, you may change the phrase based on the person. If you’re talking with an accountant, you can ask, “Are you with an accounting firm, or do you work for a business in a different industry?”
#4 What do you like about what you do?
Again, open-ended questions will do great in conversations. Because it can’t be answered with just a few words, it stretches out talks, thus avoiding awkward silences. Open-ended questions like this also boosts positivity, as they are able to share their interest in their work.
#5 How did you start in this field?
History has so much to tell. Instead of just focusing on the now, learn about their journey as well. Know as much as you can about the person you’re talking to, and things can definitely get more interesting.
#6 What are you hoping to get out of this event?
Clearly, this question can only be asked during professional gatherings. It will allow the person to talk about their selves indirectly. You would get to know them more and their reason for coming at the event. If you have the ability, you can even suggest ways to help the person achieve their goal. They may as well give back in return, which may open doors for the both sides.
#7 Your work is amazing, I love it
This phrase comes in handy when talking with a prominent person. For some people, it can be intimidating to approach a well-known individual, but learning how to break the ice will equip you with the confidence you need. You can start the conversation by admiring their work, which is always a good place to start. From there you can shift to open-ended questions like “I heard you speak about your new project at last year’s conference–how is that going?” or “One of the ideas in your book really helped me through a rough patch . . . “
#8 If a beginner would ask you for some advice, what would it be?
You can use this question when talking with an older person or someone veteran in the field. Besides keeping the talk flowing smoothly, you can even acquire valuable insights from such open-minded hypothetical questions. It may as well give the person you’re talking to a positive feeling, as such phrases mean you acknowledge their authority in the field.
The secret to being a good talker is curiosity. Be inquisitive, and interested with the person you’re talking to and you will never run out of things to ask. Make sure to give and take during conversations. Ask a lot, but never miss to share a piece of yourself as well. The moment you get the hang of keeping the conversations oozing, you’ll get to know how to brush off insecurities easily. Approaching people will be a piece of cake!