Whether you are at a convention, expo, or invited to participate in a networking event, it is always useful to know how to break the ice and develop professional relationships for B2B purposes.
Starting a conversation smoothly can help avoid awkward pauses, interruptions, and even touchy subjects. There is a certain way to go about it, and with practice and the know-how, you can win B2B relationships and take your company to the next level.
In this post, the Find Your Audience team will be providing 10 effective tips on how to break the ice.
- Make references to the event itself
A surefire way to break the ice is to talk about the event that you and the other person is participating in itself. This creates common ground and offers familiarity to both parties. For example, if you are both at a convention, then you can ask a question about which panels they plan to attend, have checked out, or even which ones they will be involved in when it comes to discussions.
- Follow up on their commentary
If given the opportunity to network with others after a panel discussion, don’t be afraid to ask them questions about their commentary. During a discussion itself, make sure to take note of who in the audience spoke and participated in the conversation, as this can give you more insight into their perspectives and industry expertise.
- Ask them about their field
This goes hand-in-hand with paying particular attention to the individuals who introduced themselves during a panel discussion. You can break the ice by asking any questions you have about their field of expertise. This ensures less awkward moments, as they would be comfortable and confident in answering your questions.
- Introduce yourself confidently
It never hurts to take the initiative and introduce yourself in a confident manner. Start with a firm handshake and give a brief introduction about what you do to break the ice. This not only indicates that you are a business leader in your own right, but you are personable and friendly with others.
- Be open with your body language
Practice open body language on a consistent basis so that during conversation starters, subconscious gestures become second nature to you. For instance, by not crossing your arms when talking with someone, you are indicating that you welcome the person’s input and are interested in what they have to say.
- Practice active listening
Active listening involves paying close attention to the conversation and reacting and giving your own input into it in an appropriate manner. Take care to really listen to what the other person is trying to communicate, as this can help further the discussion. In addition, take note of your body language, as looking closed off can indicate a lack of interest.
- Talk about their company in relation to yours
If you see a great business or collaboration opportunity, you can also talk about the other person’s company in relation to your own. Done tactfully, not only will you be able to learn more about the other person’s business, but also put your own company’s products and services at the forefront of their mind.
- Ask them about their position
This goes back to breaking the ice by finding common ground and making the other person feel comfortable at the beginning of a conversation. By asking questions about someone’s position, you are acknowledging their expertise in their role. You can also learn more about their company and where they stand in it using this technique.
- Show interest in their current projects
You can show that you are genuinely interested in an individual’s projects by asking questions about it. This can also go beyond basic questions if you both share common ground in terms of industry, expertise, and experience. While talking about current projects, be sure to practice active listening to truly understand the depth of the conversation.
- Ask them for their thoughts on event panels
If the both of you have just exited an insightful panel, then it would not hurt to ask the other person for their thoughts about the event overall. You can point out interesting moments, as well as note relevant insights to start off the conversation. In addition, asking for a different perspective on a panel itself can open up doors to new business opportunities.
No matter the type of event, knowing how to develop and win B2B relationships is the key to success. The first step to take in pursuit of this goal is to break the ice. For more advice on how to take yourself, your business, and your professional relationships to the next level, contact the Find Your Audience team at either 647-479-0688 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let us be your marketing partner and provide you with customized and effective business strategies.