So, uhh…how about this weather?
If that’s your idea of an effective ice breaker, I’d like to humbly recommend take a look at our BlackBerry Better Business Hub post about the art of small talk. Whether you’re at a conference, in the elevator, or meeting new clients, it’s important to be able to be able to find common ground with anyone who you’ll have a business relationship with. After all, how can you get to the “big talk” if you can’t master the small talk?
Though it can be daunting to approach new people, if you study these three steps you’ll be small talking like a pro in no time:
- The purpose of small talk
Keep it simple. You don’t want to hit someone with the hard sell before you’ve gotten to know them. So start out by building common ground, and be sure to ask plenty of engaging questions. People love to talk about themselves, and you can keep an open ear for any tidbits that may prove useful later.
- Conquering the icebreaker dilemma
It’s hard to build a relationship with someone if you only talk about work. Ask some simple questions about where they’re from, or their life and family. If you’re at an event, ask what they thought of the latest presentation. It’s also smart to have a list of a few “safe” topics in the back of your mind that you can refer to if things turn quiet—sports, current events, or industry trends are good examples. Finally, do some research and see if you know anyone attending an event—you might be able to strike up a conversation about mutual friends or colleagues.
- Be personal and open
Make the conversation interesting and help to steer it. Focus on creating a good impression by smiling and sharing something about yourself. If you’ve just returned from a vacation you could mention the location and ask if the other person has been anywhere interesting recently. Remember, it’s all about creating a good impression and finding common ground, not necessarily getting right to business.
Read the full article over at the Better Business Hub to learn more about the fine art of small talk. And if you have a particularly great icebreaker you’d like to share, let us know in the comments.