"To give himself a first audience
After he had a while look’d wise
At last broken silence and the ice"
Samuel Butler 1678
It seems that awkward conversation openers at events were also a part of 17th Century England if Samuel Butler’s poem is anything to go by.
In 2015 nothing has changed too much. Opening conversations or ‘breaking the ice’ is always a little tricky and a real struggle for some people.
The trick is to be prepared and have a few conversation ice breakers up your sleeve ready to go for the times that you are introduced to someone or into a group. Or even more awkwardly, the times that you aren’t introduced to anyone and you’re doing all the ice breaking yourself!
The thing to remember is that people gravitate to individuals who can hold a charismatic conversation. It’s not about having opinions. It’s about being able to discuss views and show a level of intellect and knowledge.
When you combine this form of discussion with topical issues and current affairs, conversations become less stilted and more animated. Relationships begin to form and key engagement follows not long after.
Even in a social environment, it’s a great way to get conversation flowing. Just the other day we were at a restaurant with some friends and as a group, we chatted about what we’d seen on the news or online recently.
Another key to the topical conversationalist approach is not only to be current, but also bring up topics that ‘fit’ the audience or demographic of the people at the event.
Here are ten examples of current topics that will break the ice and melt the awkwardness away.
- Three Australian restaurants announced in Top 100 Restaurants of the World
- Costa Rica announcing it’s now running on 100% renewable energy
- The new law that has just passed making sneaky downloads illegal
- Game of Thrones season five finale!
- Matilda’s progress at the Women’s Football World Cup
- Apple deciding to pay royalties to artists after originally launching Apple Music with 3 months of free downloads for customers royalty-free and an online rant from Taylor Swift
- The Mariah Carey and Jamie Packer hook-up (choose your audience wisely for this one!)
- Qantas named world’s safest airline in 2015
- The Canberra couple who have decided to divorce if same sex marriage laws are passed
- Residents in the US suing agricultural company Monsanto for chemical poisoning
As mentioned before, picking the right audience is crucial and it would be wise to steer clear of politics and overly controversial topics that could end up in a nasty debate. Probably best not to advocate coal seam gas mining at a renewable energy networking event, for example.
Keep yourself up to date and informed with some conversation ice breakers in your networking bag of tricks and you’ll make a memorable and respected impression.
Get help with your plan today. Ask us about the Create & Manage Network Training in September.