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10 of the Most Effective Ice Breakers for Starting Meaningful Conversations

10 of the Most Effective Ice Breakers for Starting Meaningful Conversations

Whether you want to start a conversation with a new guy or girl you find attractive or you want to get a training session off to a great start, a good ice breaker can help you make a memorable first impression. It can turn that first encounter with someone new into something wonderful that blossoms into lasting friendships and valuable partnerships.

A bad ice breaker, however, can be a recipe for disaster. It can spiral out of control pretty quickly and at best be a terrible waste of time or worse an embarrassment for everyone involved. So, how do you start a meaningful conversation with someone new and avoid embarrassments or awkward moments of silence? Where do you begin?

Tips for initiating a Conversation

Understand that it is normal to feel a bit nervous when approaching someone new. Everyone gets a little shy at first; after all, you don’t know what this other person is like. The person could be a grumpy, mean guy, but the only way to know for sure what the person is like is to get over being shy and approach them. That person might turn out to be the nicest, kindest person you ever meet.

Start by filling your idea vault with possible ice breakers to start a conversation and follow-up questions to sustain the conversation. Listen attentively to the other person’s responses because this can make or break your follow-up questions. To help you out with ideas for starting a conversation, here are ten of the most effective ice breakers you can use in different scenarios to get a conversation off and running.

1.  “How are you doing today, miss?”

A genuine hello accompanied by a heartwarming, three second smile is one of the most basic, highly effective ice breakers there is. Often, we brush simple things aside as being too simple not realizing the simplest things can have the biggest impact in life.

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Think about the people who say “good morning” or “howdy” to their neighbors. This simple greeting is usually followed up with “how are you” or “how are the kids?” Before long, the two parties are talking about their families and even favorite sports teams.

2.  “Nice earrings!”

This comment represents a classic technique that is quite effective for starting a conversation. Regardless of whom you are talking to, saying something genuinely nice about their outfit, accessories or even mood will usually be received well.

The person receiving the compliment will thank you and possibly say something nice about you in return. In doing this, a dialogue begins. Keep the dialogue going by asking a question like “Where did you buy the earrings? I really like them.”

3. “Does this shop always have such long queues?”

Simply commenting on an unpleasant or uncomfortable situation that you both experience in your immediate surroundings is another effective strategy for starting a conversation. You can comment about a long bathroom line or wobbly waiting-room chair.

By focusing on an unpleasant situation that you both find yourselves in and subtly complaining about it, you cleverly suck the other person into an unwitting pact that unites both of you against a common enemy.

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4. “Chicago really is the windy city!”

Yes. Talk about the weather. It may sound clichéd, but it works wonders in real life. People talk about the weather all the time—It’s a topic everyone has an opinion on. Think of how you have an opinion about what dress or fashion choice is right for different weather.

Once the person responds, you can ease into the conversation with “small talk” like, “The wind is so strong; it nearly blew me over!”

5.  “Oh, did you hear about…”

Kick-start a conversation with a description of an interesting, entertaining and/or funny story. Get right in to your story description and then allow the other person to make a remark or share an opinion of the story.

If your story is interesting enough, there really is no telling where it could take the ensuing dialogue and for how long you could stretch the conversation once your new friend gets on board.

6.  “What kind of drink is that?

People love eating and drinking. If the person you want to start a conversation with has a nice-looking drink or a delicious-looking burger, comment on how delicious (or not delicious) the burger is. Alternatively asks her what kind of drink she’s having.

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When she replies, follow up with something like “Do you really like it?” or ” Can I buy you another?” Introduce yourself and don’t forget to flash your best charming smile.

7.  “That’s a lovely name; are you named after someone?”

This works especially well in a workplace setting, business meeting or conference where people are wearing name tags. If she has an interesting name, walk up to her and say something like “Camille, lovely name. What’s the origin of the name?”

She’ll probably be excited to tell you about her French name and before you know it, a conversation has ensued. If her name is ordinary or common, however, you might not find too many interesting questions to ask.

8.  “Hello, do you work here?”

This also works well at a workplace or business setting where people are wearing name tags. Even if you know the answer, ask whether he works there anyway. If you know some people who work at his company or retail store, mention them to him.

Follow up with related questions like “What do you do here?” “Have you been working here a long time?” “Do you like it here?” “What’s your favorite/worst part of your job?

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9. “People call me David, but you can call me TONIGHT.”

Okay, telling a joke is easier said than done. Jokes can be tricky, but they’re some of the best conversations starters you can throw at someone new. They help the other person see a witty, fun and likeable side of your personality.

That said, unless you’re really confident about your joke-telling skills, it’s probably a good idea to avoid them or start with a self-deprecating joke. You can’t possibly offend yourself, can you?

10.  “Excuse me, I just thought I should come over and talk to you.”

Sometimes the best and most fun ice breaker is honesty. Walk up to her and just be honest. Tell her you want to talk to her. Point out how awkward and funny the situation actually is for both of you and that you are trying to make the best of it.

Honesty really can be the best policy. Who doesn’t love a refreshing bout of honesty, any way?

There you have itten of the most effective ice breakers you can use to initiate a meaningful conversation with someone new.

Over to you now. What are your best conversation starters? Do you have any tips you can share?

More by this author

David K. William

David is a publisher and entrepreneur who tries to help professionals grow their business and careers, and gives advice for entrepreneurs.

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Last Updated on June 18, 2019

40 Ways to Achieve Peace Of Mind and Inner Calm

40 Ways to Achieve Peace Of Mind and Inner Calm

Do you have racing thoughts and find yourself constantly worrying? An anxious mind is truly distressing.

The good news is, there’re simple things you can do to calm your thought.

If you want to achieve peace of mind and inner calm, try these 40 simple powerful ways:

1. Listen to Music

Studies have found that relaxing music can help kids with ADHD to be calmer and focus. But it doesn’t matter what genre of music you want to listen to, as long as you enjoy it and it makes you feel relaxed.

Music is food for the soul and an instant way to gain peace of mind.

2. Deep Breathing

When you focus on your breathing, your mind’s attention is drawn to the life-enhancing process of drawing in air and exhaling.

Take five long, deep breaths and focus on your lungs and diaphragm as you do this. This is a quick and easy way to instantly feel calm.

Here’re also 5 Breathing Exercises for Anxiety (Simple and Calm Anxiety Quickly).

3. Go for a Walk

Getting out in the fresh air can do you a world of good and promote peace of mind. Take a break and get the blood pumping – especially when the sun is shining.

4. Enjoy Nature

Too much concrete is never a good thing. Spending time in nature can actually make you feel younger, happier. Here’s why.

Spend time away from the city. Listen to the birds singing and enjoy the peace and tranquility.

5. Play with a Pet

Having a pet to play with is a great way to de-stress. Touch is a powerful sense and can ease tension and promote peace of mind.

6. Declutter

Have regular clear-outs. Clutter can add to feelings of tension and a clean, clear home allows a clearer, more peaceful mind.

Take a look at this article and learn How to Declutter Your Mind to Sharpen Your Brain and Fall Asleep Faster.

7. Acceptance

Acceptance is crucial for peace of mind. Accepting that there are few guarantees in the world and learning to tolerate uncertainty is a huge leap in the peace-of-mind stakes. Differentiate between what you can and cannot control.

8. Mindfulness

When we are mindful, we are fully present in the moment and acutely aware of our five senses: touch, taste, sight, hearing and smell.

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Engage your senses. This leaves less time for your mind to worry and think about “what ifs.”

Here you can learn about The Power of Mindfulness.

9. Self Love

The more we like ourselves, the greater our peace of mind. We accept ourselves more and feel at ease in the world, no matter what situation we find ourselves in. We experience less insecurity and as a result, our inner peace is heightened.

Start trying these 30 Ways To Practice Self-Love And Be Good To Yourself.

10. Be True to You

This is another vital component of peace of mind. When we practice congruency, we behave similarly to the way we feel and think. When the way we see ourselves and the way the world sees us is the same, we are practicing congruency.

Problems arise when we see ourselves one way (for example, as a loving mother) but behave in ways that are at odds with how we would like to see ourselves (for example, neglect our children because we are too busy). Finding ways to keep our inner ideals and the way we behave similar is one of the keys to peace of mind.

Find out How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want.

11. Sense of Humor

Laugh a lot. The world is instantly a better place when you can see the funny side of life. Laughter is a great antidote for stress and releases hormones that help us relax.

12. Love Unconditionally

When you don’t expect anything back, it makes it easier to love without fear. When we love with conditions attached, our unmet expectations can create inner turmoil and feelings of resentment. Insecurities destroy peace of mind.

13. Go for Regular Health Checks

It pays to keep checks on your health and look after yourself. Letting ourselves go can indicate a lack of self-respect, and this in turn will affect the way we see the world and the way others interact with us. Be kind to yourself and make the most of what you have.

14. Take Stock

Every now and then, it’s a good idea to check whether you’re happy with the quality of your life. Do you like your job? Your relationship? Are you on the right track? Make adjustments if necessary to restore peace of mind.

15. Have Goals

This ties in with number 14. Goals keep us going in the right direction and give us a sense of purpose. Make your goals SMART: How to Set SMART Goal to Make Lasting Changes in Life

16. Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously

This relates to number 11. Learn to be more flexible in your approach to life. The more rigid our thinking is, the easier it is to experience situations that contradict our rigid ideas.

17. Live in the Moment

Instead of worrying about the past or panicking about the future, really enjoy the NOW. It’s all we have — this moment in time.

When we live in the present, the concerns of the past and future can’t worry us.

Here’re some tips on How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying About the Past or Future.

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18. Worry Less

We apparently have somewhere between 30,000 – 75,000 thoughts per day, of which 80% are random “nonsense.”

Learn to “shelve” worrying by reminding yourself that most of your worries are unproductive and remove any chance of peace of mind.

Some advice for you who worry often: How to Worry Less: 90% of What You Fear Won’t Happen

19. Be Assertive

You have as much right to be here and to have an opinion as anyone else. When we become passive or submissive, we do ourselves a disservice.

Being assertive isn’t about your needs ahead of others (aggressive) or their needs ahead of yours (passive). Rather, it is about compromise —  a “win-win” situation.

Learn How to Be Assertive and Stand up for Yourself the Smart Way.

20. Speak Your Mind

Don’t be afraid to say what you’re thinking. This goes hand in hand with being assertive.

Ask for what you want in life. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.

21. Enjoy “Me-Time”

Time out is important. A little bit of selfish time to treat yourself or do exactly as you please sets you up for taking on the constant demands of life. Balance in life is crucial.

22. Frolic

The free online dictionary describes the word “frolic” as:

“To behave playfully and uninhibitedly; romp.”

All work and no play will stress anyone out. Make time for things you enjoy. Try to inject fun into situations that aren’t particularly enjoyable. Approach life with a playful attitude. When did you last let the child in you come out to play?

23. Let It Go

There are some things that you just cannot change, no matter how hard you try. Know when to cut your losses and detach (Just like Elsa does!)

When you start to let go of your past, these 10 things will happen.

24. Resist Guilt

Guilt is a negative emotion that removes peace of mind. Although it can motivate us (in the wrong way), it is still a toxic emotion.

Challenge the reasons for your guilt to make sure you aren’t placing unnecessary pressure on yourself.

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25. Adopt an Attitude of Gratitude

Focusing on all the things in our lives that we are grateful for promotes peace of mind and reminds us that there are always positives. Sometimes we just have to nudge our awareness.

Try these 40 Simple Ways To Practice Gratitude.

26. See Failure as a Learning Curve

Failure has such negative connotations, but actually, everyone fails. How can you improve or learn anything if you never fail?

A healthy attitude towards failure encourages bravery. It’s not you that is the failure, instead it is what you tried that failed. There is a big difference.

27. Connect with Others

One of the true joys of life is sharing life with others and knowing that others “get” you. We feel less alone and feeling understood allows a fantastic sense of well-being.

28. Test Your Limits

You’ll never know your true potential if you always stay in your comfort zone. As the old saying goes, it is better to look back and regret what you did than regret all those things you wish you’d tried.

Learn to step out of your comfort zone: 10 Ways To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone And Overcome Your Fear

29. Find Positive Outlets for Negative Emotions

Sports, online forums, like-minded people, hobbies…whatever takes your fancy. Suppressing negative emotions can lead to ill health. Release tension and frustration in a pro social way and feel a whole lot happier.

30. Slow Down

Why does everything need to be accomplished today? Often, we place unrealistic pressure on ourselves when there is no need to.

Challenge your impatience, be mindful and enjoy life in the moment.

31. Challenge Your “Shoulds” and “Musts”

Self-induced pressure never leads to inner tranquility or peace of mind. Replace “should” with “could” and live life more on your own terms.

32. Be Kind

It’s free and it makes a difference. When we show kindness, it gives us an inner boost, too.

You can try these 29 Ways to Carry Out Random Acts of Kindness Every Day.

33. Don’t Compare

The more we compare, the more we lose ourselves.

Forget what everyone else is doing or saying. What do YOU want? We all have our own paths to follow, and we are all learning and going through life at our unique pace.

Focus on your own journey and lose the stress of comparing yourself to what you think is going on in the lives of others. This is a surefire way to eliminate peace of mind.

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34. Affirmations

Talk to yourself positively by using affirmations. A good example of one that encourages peace of mind is: “No matter what comes my way, I will find a way to get through it.”

Believe in yourself and remind yourself regularly that you will be okay.

Need some more inspirations to affirm yourself? Here’re 10 Positive Affirmations for Success that will Change your Life.

35. Save a Little Money as Often as You Can

Putting money aside is always a good idea. If you can afford to save money regularly, do it. Start up a regular debit each month, and you won’t even realize it’s gone.

36. Less Is More

Money buys choice, but it doesn’t buy us the happiness we crave. Be content with the simpler things in life — that’s where the real long-lasting joy and peace of mind comes from.

37. Perspective

Always  keep your eye on the bigger picture. Will you feel this way next week, or a year from now? Will your current experience of life seem as important?

More often than not, you will be just fine. Foster peace of mind by maintaining perspective in life.

38. Monitor Your Thoughts

Our thoughts can make or break our quality of life. Make sure to choose thinking that works for you.

Talk to yourself as you would a best friend. Self-loathing serves no purpose and will undoubtedly extract joy from your life.

39. Stand up for What You Believe In

Whether it’s protecting animals or helping those less fortunate than yourself, follow your heart and your passion. Fight the urge to fit in and do what’s expected.

When you change yourself to suit others, you give away your peace of mind.

40. Get Enough Sleep

When we’re tired and grumpy, nothing goes smoothly. Get eight hours of sleep per night and regenerate your body.

Final Thoughts

The most important ways to achieve peace of mind involve being true to yourself, accepting that life is uncertain and watching your thinking. Many of us mentally “torture” ourselves daily with the things we tell ourselves.

Trust your thoughts less, pay less attention to the negative ones and focus on what you are thankful for in life, and you’ll be well on your way to inner peace of mind.

Featured photo credit: sean Kong via unsplash.com

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