- Be prepared. Arrive ready with icebreaker questions, like #11 from her eBook, "What business books have you read recently that you've found valuable?" or #26, "Tell me how you got into your business?"
- Be proactive. "Make the first move and thus take the pressure off the other person. They will be grateful and pleased that you've broken the ice."
- Make consistent eye contact. "This is essential because people really believe when you make eye contact that you are interested in them and are committed to the conversation. If your eyes are wandering, they'll feel that you don't really care."
- Break the ice with grace and politeness. "Avoid joining a conversation where only two people are talking -- they may behaving a private conversation. Instead look for people who are standing alone or in groups of three or more."
- Listen. "Lawyers are trained to be good speakers, but to break the ice, a person must truly listen actively. Spend more time closing your mouth and opening the door to breaking the ice, by listening actively. People deeply desire to be heard."
- Smile. "Most of us are watching others for non-verbal cues, but we should focus on the nonverbal cues we are giving. The more you smile at people, the more you will open the door to conversation. A smile shows warmth."
- Introduce others. "It's a gift to the other person and it makes you look like a real connector, and the ice thaws quickly."
- Say something positive about your new connection. "Doing this at the outset of the conversation will break down a lot of barriers."
- Break the ice with someone you haven't spoken with for a very long time. "Simply say, 'it's been such a long time and I've been thinking of reconnecting with you. Tell me what's new with you?' People will resonate with this approach, because they too will have people they haven't spoken to in a long time."
- Download her free eBook, "55 Great Icebreaker Questions" and you'll never be anxious again in a room full of people you haven't met.
- After you collect cards and leave the event, quickly jot down something you talked about with each person who gave you a card. Then write a quick note to that person, enclose another of your business cards and mail it to them. This is a great way to be remembered after the event.
- Don't forget to enter your new contact's name and information into a database so you can efficiently reach out when you have something to share!
Monday, February 10, 2014
Business Networking: Strategies for Breaking the Ice
Walking into a room full of strangers with name tags is daunting for anyone, but for lawyers in particular, it is a necessity for business. Nancy Fox, a networking specialist offers these 10 tips: