2-part video series

The World's Worst Ice Breaker

Speaking to strangers should be simple, shouldn't it?

Published 
November 11, 2011
Last Updated 

Yet when we see someone that we want to say 'hello' to, inspiration nearly always fails us, and we end up reverting to terrible conversational habits.Let me give you an example.Imagine a time that you wanted to speak to a stranger: it could be a cute girl at a bar, a prospective customer who's walked into your shop, the person who you end up sitting next to every day on the bus... but never quite managing to speak to.Even if you manage to squeeze out a 'hello' you know it's going to be followed, rather boringly, by the world's worst ice breaker question:

"How are you?"

It's so safe, so utterly predictable, so uninspiring! A bit like sweat pants.And also completely impossible to answer! I defy ANYONE to think up a good, succinct response to such a question.

Do you say the automated response of 'fine thanks' (which is both untrue, and offers the other person in the conversation no material to respond to)?

Do you burst into tears, sigh deeply, or scream with joy, and tell them the whole story of how you're feeling (including your life history, details of your tangled love life and financial woes in the process)?

Hmm, tough one.

I think it's way better to be a lot more specific than this and give someone something specific to respond to. My logic is if you make it easy for a person to respond to you, then you'll get better responses from them.

Along with people who work for the Inland Revenue, and traffic wardens, I'm also very suspicious of questions generally. They make you feel a bit put on the spot-no?

"What do you think about the Olympics then?"

Ha! I thought that would catch you out! Questions are also hard to answer when you're not ready for them. Maybe if you had ten minutes to think about it, the 'How are you?', would be easier to answer. When you're speaking to strangers though you don't have ten minutes: you have to make them feel comfortable at the moment.

We do this by making specific ice breaker statements.

Just like the ones in this video:

How to Observe and Compliment her: Watch Hayley's advice

Handy right?

For more neat conversational tips to get the girl, book a session with Hayley and learnhow you can improve your ability to talk to women

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