Breaking the ice the unconventional way: part 1
Questions work a charm
If you can ask someone a question, then you can get a conversation started and keep it moving. The trick is to make sure your questions are interesting. No doubt you'll do the initial work, family, hobbies kind of chat, but you need to make sure the conversation moves somewhere else after that or it could peter out into an awkward silence. A question that comes a little out of leftfield, but gives someone loads to say, as well as allowing you to really learn about them, will get things going again. For example:
What was your most memorable birthday?
Find out whether they're the type of person who gets sentimental over receiving a new bike for their 7th birthday, or relishes how hammered they got when they turned 21.
What did you want to be when you were little?
Another great way to learn a bit about someone's childhood, their hopes and aspirations and how they came to be doing what they're doing now.
What's your favourite travel destination?
Whether they're seasoned travellers, or like to spend a week in Newquay every summer, everyone enjoys talking about places they love.
How do you take your coffee or tea?
Seems innocuous enough, but there's a lot to be learned here. Are they the type who enjoys a full fat mocha latte with a shot of hazelnut syrup, or a simple cup of chamomile? Do they put milk in tea before or after? Or, heaven forefend, are they one of those oddballs who doesn't like hot drinks? Sometimes the simplest questions are the most revealing...
What is the most exciting thing on your calendar this year?
Another great way to get them talking about something they're excited about, whilst also learning a bit more about them. Is it their best mate's hen do? A fishing trip to Scarborough? A charity sky dive? Or the new series of Orange Is The New Black? This one is a great way to find out things that you have in common too.
Come back next week for part 2 and find out some fail safe emergency measures you can use if the conversation does run dry.
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