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100 Questions That Will Help You Break The Ice With Anyone You Meet

100 Questions That Will Help You Break The Ice With Anyone You Meet

There are tons of ways to introduce yourself to somebody, some more creative than others. I am a bit terrible when it comes to putting myself out there, though I’ve gotten a lot better in recent years. I am, however, great at observing people who are experts at breaking the proverbial ice, so I know what it takes to be good at it! Below you’ll find an eclectic range of conversation starters to break the ice, from the standard to the insane, and everywhere in between!

1. Hi, my name is [x], and I am not a bad person!

    2. Wouldn’t it be crazy if some random dude just came up to you and started talking? Hi, my name’s [x] by the way!

    3. Did you see that Game of Thrones episode last night?

    4. What do you think of our professor?

    5. Our teaching assistant is a real jerk, isn’t he/she?

      6. Nice necklace you got there, where did you get it?

      7. Those shoes are unique…why did you pick them?

        8. Whoa, I know I’ve never talked to you before, but your new haircut is sweet!

        9. What kind of accent is that, British?

        10. Are you taking this for a GE too?

          11. What’s your plan after college?

          12. Hey, I think I heard you talking about [insert TV show here]. What do you think of the current season?

          13. Do you know the readings that were assigned for this week?

          14. I ordered a textbook in the mail and it still hasn’t been delivered…would you mind if I used yours for a day?

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            15. You look mildly interesting; what’s your story?

            16. Cool shirt, what’s it referencing?

            17. Do you have any pets at home?

            18. What’s your favorite TV show?

              19. Cool laptop; is it easier to take notes on that than in a regular notebook?

              20. I couldn’t help but notice that you’re holding a 3DS…what’s your favorite game?

              21. This class is terrible, wouldn’t you agree?

                22. Didn’t I see you at that party last night?

                23. Hey, I think we’re both friends with [x]; what’s up?

                24. Based on your attire it looks like you workout a lot. What gym do you go to?

                25. Well, looks like we’re both stuck in this [insert miserable situation here], what’s your name?

                  26. I noticed you’re reading a book by [x], he/she is my favorite author! What do you think of it so far?

                  27. Woo, you look miserable. Need somebody to talk to?

                  28. So I saw you sitting alone at the bus stop and figured I’d introduce myself since I’m trying to be spontaneous. What’s up?

                    29. I see you at the dining hall/café all of the time; is it weird if I’m forward and introduce myself?

                    30. Cool phone you got there; is that the new model?

                    31. What are you planning to write about for this essay?

                    32. Aren’t we in the same [x] together?

                      33. Freshmen are so annoying, aren’t they?

                      34. So I was messing around in the mirror today; what do you think of my new hairstyle?

                      35. Do you like running? You look like a runner.

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                        36. Wow, you’re tall; you must be like 6’4” right?

                        37. Wow, you’re tiny; you must be like five feet tall right?

                        38. Do you play basketball? With that wingspan, you should.

                          39. Do you play football? You’ve got muscles on your muscles!

                          40. Did you hate your English teachers? Yeah, me too.

                          41. What’s your favorite historical era?

                          42. What do you think of [insert recent news scandal here]?

                            43. Are you a liberal or conservative?

                            44. What’s your favorite sports team?

                            45. Are you a fan of The Daily Show?

                            46. Do you think Obama is a good President?

                              47. What are some of the things you’re obsessed about?

                              48. Don’t we live in the same apartment complex?

                              49. Wait; didn’t we live across from each other freshmen year?

                                50. Hey, you’re that one guy that my other friends all know but I don’t! How’s it going?

                                51. You really are as funny as they say, you know that?

                                52. What are your work plans this summer?

                                53. Do you like the weather where we live? Because in my opinion, it’s way too hot/cold.

                                  54. I’m loving this rain! Are you?

                                  55. Hey, I see you just bought a book *points at your bag*. You know there’s another awesome book store located down that way a couple blocks right?

                                  56. Do you prefer lattes or cappuccinos?

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                                    57. Are you a tea person or a coffee fanatic?

                                    58. You should be a politician. Ever thought about it?

                                    59. Yo, you look just like this guy/girl I saw on TV! Know who I’m talking about?

                                    60. I’ve noticed you wear blue and shout “allons-y” a lot…are you a Doctor Who fan?

                                      61. Hey! I recognize you from High School! Except back then you didn’t know who I was. Well I’ll introduce myself, I’m [x].

                                      62. Those are cool aviators; you planning to become a cop?

                                      63. I can’t help but notice you’re still using Internet Explorer. WHY?!?!

                                        64. Do you like your iPhone?

                                        65. Oh hey! You have eyebrows, I have eyebrows; let’s talk!

                                        66. Watching Netflix in the library? I can relate.

                                        67. You look stressed; how can I help?

                                          68. Want to know something funny? Between you and me, my glasses are for show.

                                          69. What classes did you sign up for?

                                          70. Did you check out the ratemyprofesssor.com score for this guy? We’re in for a long quarter…

                                            71. Hey, we both worked at the same place for a couple months and never said a word to each other. What’s up with that?

                                            72. You look pretty unique; what’s your nationality?

                                            73. Is it just me, or does it seem like the rest of the people in our class/office are in a dreamlike stupor?

                                            74. Why doesn’t this room have air-conditioning? This is miserable!

                                            75. Nice hairstyle; what products do you use to keep it that way?

                                              76. Important question: is Folgers really the best part of waking up?

                                              77. *Tilts coffee in stranger’s relative direction* I see you need to caffeinate too. On a scale of one to 10, how desperately do you need coffee to survive in the morning?

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                                                78. Did anybody else here finish Mass Effect 3? Wasn’t that ending terrible?!

                                                79. You look like you know what’s up. Have any tips for me?

                                                80. Ooh, that’s a nice hoodie! What store did you find it in?

                                                81. You’re wearing converse too? Converse buddies!

                                                  82. Whoa, how’d you manage to break your arm?

                                                  83. Did you get taller since the last time I saw you?

                                                  84. Wow, did you start a workout regimen or something? I mean, I know I don’t really know you, but good job!

                                                    85. Just one question…do you happen to know how to work this thing?!

                                                    86. So…the Star Wars prequels. Like or dislike?

                                                    87. What’s your opinion of Mark Zuckerberg?

                                                      88. Even though I don’t really know you, your face is reasonably more familiar to me than the others in this room. What’s good?!

                                                      89. Can you finish this phrase? “I want to be the very best…”

                                                      90. So, about this California drought. Do you think they should still be planting lawns when it never rains?

                                                      91. What apps do you use most on your smartphone?

                                                      92. Would you agree with me that bow ties are cool?

                                                        93. How’s life?

                                                        94. Do you like being left handed?

                                                        95. Do you use Twitter or Facebook more?

                                                        96. Do you know [x]? Aren’t they incredibly annoying?

                                                          97. Want to hear my impersonation of our professor/boss/other authority figure?

                                                          98. That’s a nice car; what year is it?

                                                          99. Wow you type super fast. How many words per minute can you do?

                                                            100. Frankly, I’m tired of waiting. I’m [x], nice to meet you. Would you like to run away from me now? If so, be my guest. If not, how’s it going?

                                                            Featured photo credit: Agreement.jpg/MorgueFile via mrg.bz

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                                                            Last Updated on January 15, 2021

                                                            7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

                                                            7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

                                                            The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

                                                            Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

                                                            Posture

                                                            First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

                                                            • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
                                                            • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
                                                            • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
                                                            • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

                                                            All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

                                                            Facial Expressions

                                                            Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

                                                            • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
                                                            • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
                                                            • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

                                                            If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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                                                            1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

                                                            A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

                                                            The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

                                                            This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

                                                            2. Relax Your Face

                                                            New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

                                                            The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

                                                            To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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                                                            3. Improve Your Eye Contact

                                                            Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

                                                            The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

                                                            To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

                                                            3. Smile More

                                                            There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

                                                            Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

                                                            4. Hand Gestures

                                                            Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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                                                            It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

                                                            5. Enhance Your Handshake

                                                            In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

                                                            “Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

                                                            It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

                                                            6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

                                                            As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

                                                            Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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                                                            Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

                                                            Final Takeaways

                                                            Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

                                                            If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

                                                            More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

                                                            Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

                                                            Reference

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