Fearless Networking Chapter Three: Breaking the Ice

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As we continue to go through my book Fearless Networking, we come across one of the most important skills you must have in this profession…the ability to create a connection with another human being.  One major skill that you want to master is breaking the ice with new people you meet!

Breaking the ice and building rapport with people is a must-have skill for people in our profession.  It's one of the CORE skills you MUST have in order to succeed in this profession.

We're always out there meeting new people.  We've already established that people do business with those they like and trust.  We covered that in the previous post where we discussed Why People Buy.   No one likes giving money to or doing business with someone they don't like.  You don't have to worry about establishing rapport with friends…it's already there.

But…we do a LOT of meeting new people in this profession.  It's something you'll do REGULARLY…if you're doing the right thing.  And, in those instances…THAT is where your rapport building skills come into play.

What is Rapport?  Rapport is essentially a state of alignment.  It's being on the same page with someone.  When you're in a state of rapport with someone, thing seem easy.  Effortless.  Comfortable.  You feel a connection with that individual.

How do you go about “Breaking the Ice” with someone?

This is an age old term in relationship building.  When you don't yet know someone, that relationship is cold.  So…breaking the ice is essentially “warming up” the relationship.  Your objective is to relieve any tension that might be present.

Something as simple as eye contact and a smile can go a long way in helping to break the ice and establish rapport with an individual.

Four Ways to Go About Breaking the Ice to Start a Conversation

  1.  The Basic Greeting with a Smile.  Simply greeting someone with a big bold smile on your face makes you more attractive and approachable.  Eye contact and a smile are easy…and a great way into a conversation with virtually anyone.
  2.  Give a Genuine Compliment.  Actively look for something that you can compliment an individual on.  A genuine compliment can go a long way in warming up a conversation.
  3.  Ask a Question.  Questions get answers.  And, answers are the beginning of a conversation.
  4.  Comment on the Obvious.  If you see something in their office or where you're meeting them, comment on it.  If it's a picture of them holding a trophy fish or with a group of friends on a golf course…comment on it!

Mirroring Leads to Greater Rapport

We like to do business with people that we like.  We've already established that.  And…people tend to like those that they perceive as similar to them.  The more LIKE them you become, the more likely they'll like you.

When you're beginning to get to know someone, I'd suggest MIRRORING how they talk.  Mirroring is simply doing what the other person is doing.

If they speak soft, you speak soft.
If they speak loud, you speak loud.
If they use certain words or phrases, you use them as well.

Things you can mirror in your conversations with people include:

  • The tempo, pitch, tone or volume of their language. 
  • Their body language or their gestures. 
  • Specific vocabulary or types of words they use. 

Finding Mutual Connections

This is something we already do every day when we get to know someone.  And…it can be used in business all day long!

Isn't it interesting how quickly we connect with someone that we have something in common with, and how instant that connection occurs?

Asking questions like:

“Where are you from?”
“What part of the country are you in?”
“Where did you go to school?”
“Did you play any sports growing up?”
“What kind of music do you like?”
“What do you do for fun?”
“What do you do for a living?”
“Do you have kids?”

All of these questions can lead into a deeper state of rapport…especially when you find a mutual connection or common ground with another person.

You want to get REALLY, REALLY good at asking QUALITY questions!  Not all questions are created equal!  The more skilled you become at asking really good questions…the better off you'll be.  I'd suggest downloading the Prospecting Power Questions Cheat Sheet you see on this page.  You'll find it very useful!

If you don't yet have a copy of the book, you can Get a Free Copy Here.

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