Building new relationships with people you barely know can be a real challenge. But in business, quickly building relationships with someone you've just met--a co-worker, a prospective customer, a supplier--is an especially important skill to have. So how exactly do you break the ice when you meet someone for the first time?
Although focusing on shallow topics to start--such as the weather or sports or your favorite new film--makes breaking the ice easier, your goal should be to move on to deeper topics as you gain familiarity with the other person.
... an anecdote, or a well-timed story in order to show other people that you understand them.
Perhaps it's a connection about a mutual friend at work or a common breakfast spot you shared growing up. It's the one spark that ends up transforming the interaction from being acquaintance-like to a true friendship.
Think about something you're having a hard time getting started on, something important to you. Maybe it's a particular kind of work - like writing a proposal or crafting a particularly delicate email. Maybe it's an important conversation you know you need to have with someone that you haven't had.
Most of us have come across them at some point - the kind of people who can walk into a room full of strangers but then leave with 10 new friends, a lunch date for the next day, and the promise of an introduction to an industry insider. Charmers.