An icebreaker that works

The only icebreaker question that'll work every single time: Tell me about yourself.

It is more effective than "So what do you do?" Posing a broad question lets people lead you to who they are.

@kin81

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Communication

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Stay curious and engaged

After the initial breaking, you have to really listen to how the other person responds. What are they excited about? Ask them more questions about that.

Pay attention to body language. You will be able to tell if someone is losing interest, for instance, eyes wandering, crossing arms or turning away from you.

Not every conversation will be a big hit. You will run out of things to say. Be honest. Say you've got to go to the bathroom or say hi to your other friend. Then go.

Even though it might feel rude, remember that it will free up time to start another potentially interesting conversation with someone else.

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RELATED IDEAS

Making good conversation implies mastering the technique of asking the right questions, in the correct order, in a proper tone.

 The purpose is to get to know the other, without making it feel like an interrogation.

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IDEAS

The Most Awkward Conversational Pratfalls
  1. Approaching for the first time someone you don’t know: focus on them, ask about them and approach humbly.
  2. Deciding when to end a conversation: you can end the conversation by excusing yourself and saying you have something that needs to be attended to.
  3. Awkward silences: knowing when to shift to another topic, introducing a new person to the conversation or even having a few conversation-continuers at the ready can help.
  4. Accidentally saying something inappropriate: apologize quickly, admit the embarrassment, and, if you mean it, apologize without excuses. Trying to smooth it over will dig the hole deeper.
  5. When someone else says something inappropriate: by diffusing the situation, and redirecting the conversation. Practicing active listening reveals when to intervene.
Make note of something pleasant

"This dip is delicious!" "Nice turnout for this event!"

There's something positive to say in nearly every situation, so find it and say it. Don't say something negative because it's much too risky.

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