What does it take to break the ice? A week ago, I ventured into a lavish Christmas party hosted by a corporate travel agent and their sponsors. In a grand setting full of gourmet food, heady drinks and hundreds of interesting people, it seemed that everyone had one common goal in mind – networking. It was exciting yet slightly daunting for me when I steered through the venue not knowing anybody except 3 people whom I had contacted with through telephone. So, top on my agenda was to find them and put their faces to names. Luckily, everyone was given a name tag to be pinned on the clothes, so I didn’t anticipate it to be a difficult task.
Then I went to grab a drink, hovered around the venue a few times to see where the action was. Getting accustomed to the surroundings, the vibes and the party theme were all part of a strategy to put my mind at ease, just like a good warm-up before a major activity. As soon as I started to feel more comfortable, I decided to talk to a few random people and test out how far a small talk could take me to. My inner radar was quickly on the look out for some like-minded people and it turned out the person whom I spent the most time with also had many things in common with me. Funnily, way before we started talking, our body language had sent out the signal and clued us in. Then came three magical ice breakers: names, languages and pets!