Ever at a loss for words when starting a conversation? It happens all the time. In this episode of the Art of Likability, we bring up one tip to use when you'd like to start up a conversation but just aren't quite sure what to say!
How to break the ice? Start with addressing the vibe in the room. Summing it up in three words:
Address the Distress
Address any social awkwardness upfront with a new conversation.
This is an "effectively awkward" technique to break the ice! The kicker is that everyone else is also likely apprehensive about breaking the ice as well!
You step into the role of the person who says what is on everyone's mind, the person who will relieve the tension for others.
You take the awkwardness of a situation and leverage it into a conversation!
We are going to run through a couple of possible cases where this technique can be used.
Lunch with a New Crew
I recently sat down for lunch with a new group of people. Not sure at first how to start the conversation, I chose to use this effectively awkward technique (address the distress) and started up a conversation anyways:
“You know, when I sit down to have lunch with a new group of people, I never know the first thing to talk about. Weather, sports? How do you guys handle that?”
Now I'm totally fine talking about weather, sports, or any kind of small talk. But are they sports people? Talking sports with people who aren't big into the topic is kind of a dead end, and I didn't know them well enough yet.
Eliciting/crowdsourcing a topic is a sure-fire way to get this conversation started on the right foot. They give their suggestions and we go along with the flow of the conversation!
This technique can also be used in online dating as well. Suppose you come across someone who interests you and you're not sure how to broach the conversation.
"Hey, so this is the hardest part of a conversation. I don’t know much about you, but I’ve seen your profile and your picture and I like your vibe. I’m trying to think of something witty to say, but I’ve got nothing witty to say. I’m trying to think of what’s a good way to let you know I’m a cool person, interested, but I don’t want to play my cards too much. What do you suggest is a good way to say hello? 😊"
Some people like using emojis, and others advise against it. When you text or speak online, there's no tonality to your speech, so jokes and a fun vibe can sometimes fly over our heads. I like emojis here because they lend that air of fun, friendliness, and not taking yourself too seriously
I've heard some listeners ask me to expound on the dating sphere, but what do YOU want to hear? Give me your advice and thoughts for the Art of Likability with the following survey:
At Networking Events
If you're at a networking event, there is the question of how to break the ice. Others are likely thinking about how to break the ice too! Once again, address the distress!
"Never know what topic to use to break the ice for a networking conversation. What do you typically use?"
"Address the Distress" is a pretty cool technique to relieve the tension of breaking the ice. If you're looking to relieve the tension of dealing with taxes (that time of year is coming up!), you can look to FreshBooks to get your finances and online business all copacetic!