The proverbial “breaking the ice” and starting a conversation can be perhaps among the most difficult tasks to achieve if you haven’t had lots of practice and experience. Although, as this blog post says, the first encounter with someone new can turn into something wonderful, and even culminate into a long-lasting friendship or business association, a bad icebreaker can quickly go out of hand and leave a very bad impression. Before proceeding, you may also like to read How to make a great first impression.
It’s always better to approach someone with an open mind and an acceptance of the fact that you may feel a bit hesitant because after all, you have never talked to that person before, and if he or she is not judging you at the drop of a hat, this should be understandable to him or her too.
Another thing that you should keep in mind is, do you really want to break the ice with that person and start a conversation without an ulterior motive? What could be an ulterior motive? We may have our own definitions of that, but you get the point. We are all looking for new friendships. We are looking for new partnerships. This is understandable and unless we approach new people, we can never get new friends and acquaintances. Whether you want to start a conversation at a party, in a club, during a picnic, while traveling in public transport, or anywhere, your intentions must be clear and when you have clear intentions, you don’t feel nervous.
Here are a few things you can do to start a conversation:
Give a genuine compliment
Everybody likes compliments, provided they are delivered with their true intentions. Like the earrings someone is wearing? A “nice earrings!” can be a good conversation starter. Once that person responds favorably, you may ask about where you got them from etc. Pay special attention that you don’t make the person feel awkward. Also your instinct should be able to tell you whether the person wants to carry forward the conversation or not.
Make a friendly eye contact
Although you may look at many people around you when you want to start a conversation with someone, you look at the person for a longer duration and show more interest and eagerness. “Longer duration” doesn’t mean that you never take your eyes off the person to such an extent that it makes that person uneasy and flee from there. Whenever your eyes meet, smile and nod. Then move closer to the person and strike up a conversation.
Ask a question
When you ask a question the other person, whether at that moment he or she wants or not, has to normally provide an answer. This can be a good ice breaker because then you can further ask something else, or add more to the answer. As the above-mentioned article says, you can ask something like, “What kind of drink is that?”, or “Is this place always crowded like this?”, or “That’s a nice name, what does it mean?”
Your personal disposition matters a lot when you want to start a conversation with someone you don’t know. If you are sincere, if you want to make that person comfortable while talking to you, it shows through.