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

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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?

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                                                            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 July 20, 2021

                                                            How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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                                                            How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

                                                            You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

                                                            Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

                                                            Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

                                                            Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

                                                            1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

                                                            According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

                                                            “Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

                                                            Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

                                                            Warming up

                                                            If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

                                                            If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

                                                            Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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                                                            1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
                                                            2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
                                                            3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

                                                            Stay hydrated

                                                            Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

                                                            To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

                                                            Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

                                                            Meditate

                                                            Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

                                                            Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

                                                            Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

                                                            Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

                                                            2. Focus on your goal

                                                            One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

                                                            Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

                                                            Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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                                                            Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

                                                            If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

                                                            3. Convert negativity to positivity

                                                            There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

                                                            ‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

                                                            It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

                                                            Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

                                                            Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

                                                            Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

                                                            4. Understand your content

                                                            Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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                                                            However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

                                                            “No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

                                                            Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

                                                            Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

                                                            One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

                                                            5. Practice makes perfect

                                                            Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

                                                            In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

                                                            Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

                                                            6. Be authentic

                                                            There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

                                                            Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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                                                            Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

                                                            To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

                                                            With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

                                                            Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

                                                            7. Post speech evaluation

                                                            Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

                                                            Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

                                                            We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

                                                            You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

                                                            Improve your next speech

                                                            As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

                                                            Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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                                                            • How did I do?
                                                            • Are there any areas for improvement?
                                                            • Did I sound or look stressed?
                                                            • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
                                                            • Was I saying “um” too often?
                                                            • How was the flow of the speech?

                                                            Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

                                                            If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

                                                            Reference

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