The Ice Breaker
All business conversations and activities are carried out between human beings and most human beings need, like, or enjoy some form of social interaction as part of the business process.
Ice Breakers are normally used at the beginning of a business meeting, alongside your personal and company introductions, but before the business content of the meeting. They help to start building rapport and a relationship with the people you are meeting and can influence the outcome of the meeting.
They also have a purpose at the close of meetings, as they can be used display an interest in the person you are working with. Start human and end human.
Why use an Ice Breaker?
- Build (or build on) rapport
- Establish a discussion at peer level
- Talk about something in common or of interest to the other person
- Create a gap or barrier between immediate previous activity
- Allow both people to focus on each other
- Get used to tones of voice, language and expressions
- Allow both people to relax.
Appropriate areas of conversation and topics you can use:
- Interests or hobbies
- Shared contacts
- Current affairs
Business related (but not the business of your meeting)
- Wider business environment
- Current economic landscape
- Industry news or results.
Common mistakes when using Ice Breakers include:
- Wrong topic
- Too long or too short
- Not prepared
- Not conducted with conviction
- Appear to be going through the motions.
How Do You Get Started?
- Preparation or instinctive in the moment?
- Have you decided on a relevant or interesting topic(s)?
- Have you researched the topic(s)?
- Are you prepared to share your opinion on the topic(s)?
Put some thought into how you open your next meeting and see the positive effect that using Ice Breakers can make.
For more advice on creating and using Ice Breakers to build rapport and relationships, call us now on 01494 716 688 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image “Eisberge” Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.