The Top Six Ways To Break The Ice With a Stranger!
I get these question all the time: “What do I say when I meet people the first time?
How do I break the ice?”
People think the perfect opening will solve everything, but I’m sorry to break
the bad news: There are no perfect openings and even if there were they
wouldn’t work without the ingredients I’m about to share with you.
Whether you become a master at breaking the ice will not depend as much on the words you use as your attitude and ability to be present and observant.
Your opening lines are simply a way to find out whether they want to connect with you.
I want you to imagine that your opening lines are like fishing bait. You are just throwing
them around to see if someone is interested in taking your bait and connecting.
You will almost instantly find out if someone wants to connect or not.
It’s really important to understand that you should NOT be trying to “sell” your
product/business in the opening lines or even the first few minutes. Instead you
should be “selling” the chat/talk.
What I mean by that is that your opening lines should simply be selling them on
having a chat with you – nothing more.
Breaking the ice is easy. It’s taking it to the next level of connecting with people that
takes a bit more understanding and practice. You see… even though there are opening
lines that work really well they are not going to create a real connection and
lasting impact by themselves.
We will look at how to create that deep connection in a moment, but let’s first look
at some ice-breakers that work really well.
Top 6 ways to break the Ice with a complete stranger.
These can be used literally ANYWHERE. I’ve used them on the streets of London,
in cafe’s, airplanes, trains etc.
1) I’m new to the area….. ( then ask for help)
When you say you are new to the area it triggers some kind of automatic helping
response. People are usually more than willing to help you. I’m not sure why this works
so well but I’ve used it over and over with success.
“I’m new to the area” can be followed up with almost any request for
help or information.
- Can you tell me the best Italian restaurant in the area?
- Can you tell me the way to the station?
2) Ask for help.
It’s almost the same as number one, but you are not limited to situations that just apply to a newcomer.
Again this is just like a bait you are throwing out to see if they are open to connect.
If they are, you will be taking it to the next level (typically with a question).
3) Ask for an opinion on something or offer yours.
4) Compliment them, then ask a question.
Everybody likes a compliment, but watch out not to lay it on too thick and I’ve found
that if you immediately follow a compliment with a question it will work better.
An example could be: “That’s a really cool hat, where did you buy that?
5) Notice something 3rd party.
What I mean by 3rd party is something not directly related to them.
I could be what they eat in a restaurant etc.
6) Notice something about them and comment or ask about it.
Example: That’s an interesting accent you have where are you from?
I use this one constantly and it works extremely well.
You can also be combined these icebreakers to create even more impact.
For example you could combine number 1 and 5 in the following way;
Sorry to bother you …I’m new to the area would you happen to know
if there is a pet shop nearby.
Then when you notice something about them you would comment on it
(hey that’s interesting accent where are you from?)
This may seem weird, but the less I “edit” my thoughts and simply state what I
think at that moment, the better results I get at connecting with strangers. When I
see something really cool or really weird I simply say it to the person it applies to.
Let me give you two real life examples of how I used this principle.
One day I’m in a cafe walking by a table where there is a woman sitting next to a laptop
with a crazy/cool mouse with lots of bling on it – it looked almost like it had diamonds
all over it.
SO I simply said to her: “Wow that’s a really cool Mouse… is it yours?”
She looked up and simply said very in a very dry tone “No”. I didn’t get any good vibrations
from her and she obviously didn’t want to connect so I just said “Ok” and moved on.
I’m in a Starbucks at Canary Wharf(London) and I notice a girl reading the book
“The 4 hour work week”.
I happen to have read that book. I really liked it and I’m wondering what she is
thinking about it, so I simply state my thoughts and say to her: Hey excuse me, but I
see you are reading the 4 hour work week. I’ve read it and I was just wondering what
you think of it?
She looked up with a big smile and gave her opinion. This was a totally different
situation. She was very willing to connect and I was lucky that she had an accent
so I could use one of my favorite lines: “That’s an interesting accent you have, where
are you from?”
I took only about 2 minute to find out where she was born, that she had lived
in the States, what she was looking for in the book and that she wanted
to start a business.
Within 4 minutes I had asked her a basic qualifying question (will be explained later)
and she was very interested in hearing more about my services.
I hope that you by these two examples now understand what I mean by not “editing”
my thoughts. In these two examples I was simply stating my thoughts to the person.
Also these examples demonstrate what I mean when I say that the opening lines are like
fishing bait. Sometimes they are not interested in the “bait” and sometimes they are.
These ice-breakers are of course not all applicable to situations like networking events.
When you are at an event where people want to meet other people it’s even easier to
break the ice and we will look at how to do that in a moment.
Are you ready to finally get the results you are looking for? Get ready to get
my new book in a few days.
Happy prospecting – Patrick Powers