Using icebreakers

People worry disproportionately about what they're going to say to break the ice at the start of a flirtation and try and come up with clever or convoluted opening lines to make themselves appear more interesting. Indeed, making the opening gambit is often the most nerve-wracking part of a flirtation and the area where you can feel most at risk of rejection or of making a fool of yourself. However, you can minimise this risk.

Icebreaker is a very apt description for the line you use to break into a conversation with someone, but having successfully applied your non-verbal hello, delivering an icebreaker is more akin to scraping the frost off a windscreen than having to hammer through a sturdy surface. By training yourself to focus on the step before the icebreaker, you can reposition your nerves and angst towards icebreakers and view them as the next step in a logical process, as opposed to a terrifying leap.

You can choose from three different types of icebreakers, picking the one that best suits your personality type:

✓ Scenario icebreakers, for the creative flirt: You can use these when you're creating a situation as the excuse to make the icebreaker. For example, 'I'm looking for my friend. I was supposed to be meeting her here; have you seen a short, blonde girl in a pink dress?' This approach works because it's non-threatening and gives the other person an excuse to speak to you while you wait for your friend (whether the friend exists or not, or has just popped to the loo).

✓ Compliment icebreakers, for the confident flirt: If you've had a really good response to your non-verbal hello, you could just launch in with a compliment, such as 'You've got a great smile. I just thought I'd come and introduce myself.' This approach works because the other person has given you an enthusiastic response to your non-verbal hello, and with your compliment you've confirmed that you find them attractive.

✓ Introduction icebreakers, for the conventional flirt: This approach is very straightforward, non-threatening, and a bit formal. You simply approach the other person, offer them a handshake, and say 'Hi, I'm Susan. Pleased to meet you'. Convention dictates that they'll then reciprocate.

If networking is part of your job, practise the steps in the earlier 'Knowing when to speak' section and follow them in practice with a simple introductory 'Hi! I'm Charlie. May I join you?' icebreaker. You'll be amazed how easy breaking the ice with strangers becomes. When you're out shopping and meeting strangers, try following that opener with 'Could you recommend somewhere that does a great coffee?'

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An icebreaker is simply a pretext to talking to someone. To deliver it confidently and follow the conversation codes in Chapter 8, ensuring that you get the conversation started easily and running smoothly, keep it simple. You can also benefit from practising on friendly flirts to improve your delivery and confidence when it comes to romantic flirtations. I've included more opening lines in Chapter 16 to give you some ideas.

Continue reading here: Making Conversation with Absolutely Anybody

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