Holiday Conversation Icebreakers (and Beyond!)
It’s that time of year again—the office holiday party, in addition to the neighborhood mixer, your Uncle Randy’s “Misfit Christmas,” and that massive party your friends Nick and Marla host every year. As busy as you are, the holidays bring opportunities to share with people you don’t usually see, both brand-new faces and people you would like to get to know better. It’s a chance to make good, even great, conversation!
But it can be intimidating to strike up a conversation with someone you don’t know or don’t know well, especially in a large group. So how can you break the ice?
The Goals of a Good Conversation
First, pull yourself and your cup of eggnog away from the wall! Remember that a good conversation always contains an invitation for other people to share about themselves. Look for shared interests, shared experiences—any similarity you could use to begin a conversation. Ideally you will learn something about them, because that shows respect and vested interest.
- What are your plans for the holidays? Anyone can easily answer this question, plus it can reveal a lot about that person’s lifestyle and family.
- Have you seen any good movies or TV/read any good books lately? Most people like to talk about their leisure time, and these topics create great opportunity for follow-up questions. If a fellow partygoer recently saw Star Wars: The Last Jedi, you can ask how they liked it, or have a whole discussion if you saw the movie, too.
- Did you take a vacation this year? Speaking of leisure time, who doesn’t love to talk about their vacations, the undisputed queen of all time off? Whether they traveled to Iceland or to their living room on a staycation, you’ll learn how this person relaxes, and maybe a bit about a new place.
- What was the most exciting thing that happened to you this year? “Meeting you, of course!” would be the right answer, but you’re more likely to hear about a promotion, an exotic vacation, the birth of a child—an important event that invites rich follow-up talk.
- What was the best part of your day today? This conversational panacea works on partygoers aged 2 through 100, on any given day or time.
Follow Up on Your Conversations
It takes effort to break the ice and start a real conversation. So if you enjoyed talking with someone, it’s important to follow up on your conversation to build a more solid connection. If someone recommended a book or movie to you, check it out and then share your thoughts. If you discovered you both enjoy camping, send along links to your favorite campsites. By keeping the conversation going, you’ll be able to turn a good conversation into a great one!
My Thanks for a Very Special Year
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you out there who have allowed me to work with you over the last year. From seminar participants to personal clients, each one of you has a special place. I appreciate all the notes you write to me throughout the year with your success stories. I wish each one of you a very special holiday season filled with happiness, prosperity, and great health!