Breaking the Ice…the right way
I was watching a buddy walk around a bar, introducing himself to different groups, chatting comfortably, and then moving on. Everyone seemed happy to see him and he looked to be having fun. I could never picture myself doing that, so I asked him what his secret was. This is what he told me.
“All I do is break the ice. I don’t think about the small talk part or anything like that because it stresses me out. I just say hello, introduce myself and ask them one question, that’s it. Then I banter a little. I keep it light and fun and then leave. Sometimes I tell them that I ‘better keep moving’, or that I ‘should pop to the bar’, or ‘get back to my crew’ but I always tell them that ‘I’ll come back for a better chat later’. That takes all the pressure off because I can leave at anytime.”
It turns out that my buddy had accidentally stumbled onto a principle known as the propinquity effect. It is a theory of psychology that states: the more frequently we see people, the more we like them.
For some reason it appears as though we like and trust people we see regularly more than people we speak to irregularly. It also appears as though it doesn’t really matter what you talk about or how long the interaction is. As long as you seem safe and friendly, regular interactions with people will most likely increase their perceptions of you. You can use this effect to your advantage by having short repeated chats with people within the same social event.
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