The Power of Ice breaker in self-introductions

A successful first impression is one that usually makes you look confident, comfortable with who you are, respectful, maybe humorous but kind. Now, in this video, self-introductions are not just “Hi, my name is Patrick, nice to meet you”, but they also cover anything that could be asked or said in a first conversation with someone you’ve just met. Many of these are called ice breakers, and ice breakers aim to obviously break the ice, in other words, to facilitate conversation. Ice breakers can vary from talking about the weather to asking the other person about their background, their hometown, their work or anything to show that person that you’re taking interest in them.

Needless to say, questions are a big part of your initial conversation with anyone; they show the other person that you care, that you want to know more about them. We humans love to talk about ourselves, and love it more when we are listened to. We may not open up right away and spill it all out, nor should we to be honest with you, otherwise, we may come across as awkward. So, the best self-introduction and first conversation is a balanced exchange of information between two or more people! You don’t get to ask all the questions, but nor do you want to hijack the conversation. It doesn’t work that way, it’s a two-way street, give and take. The best 1st conversations happen between two people who just know how to strike that balance.

Now, while greetings are pretty straightforward in first conversations, ice breakers can go different ways depending on the situation, setting, time, place, weather etc. but as an international student, there are some questions you must be ready to answer, let’s go over some of those questions and talk about how to answer them or how not to answer them.

Q1-Where are you from?

The biggest mistake you can make here is answer with just one word. Don’t just name the country and go quiet; someone asks you “where are you from?”, you say something like:”Nepal, Kathmandu, have you been there before?” or “do you where that is?” etc. So you see, you’re answering the question but then ending your answer with a question making it easy for the other person to carry on with the conversation.

Q2-How long have you been here for?

Once again, don’t just answer with one or two words; you don’t want to come across as a robot, so you could answer as follows: “In fact, I’ve just got here, so I’m still trying to settle and learn how to get around, got any tips for me?” Note the question at the end, I can’t tell you how important it is to train yourself to finish your answer with a question.

Q3-What is your uni major?

Remember the golden rule: No 1-word answers. Stretch your answers out a little bit and wrap it up with a question. so, in this case, you could say something like: “Back in Nepal, I studied Business and Management for 4 years, I graduated last year, and now I’m about to start my MBA at IMC – very excited about that! How about you? Do you work or study?” I hope you’ve got the idea.

Q4-Where do you stay in Sydney?

If you’re going to answer with one word, like, “Bondi” or “Newtown” or “Parramatta”, you may as well be telling the other person to ‘piss off’ or as Aussies say it, ‘rack off mate, in other words, you’re signalling to the other person that you have no interest in conversing with them. Do we want that? Well, sometimes, we might, but not when we are trying to have a meaningful interaction with someone, right? So, back to our question ‘Where do you stay in Sydney’, what I’d like to hear is something like: “At the moment, I’m living in Parramatta, it’s a 40-min train ride, it’s a nice busy place, I like it, what about you? Do you live around here?” Always finish up with a question at the end if you want to keep the conversation going.

Q5-Do you like Sydney?

Now, there are different ways to ask that question: “How’s Sydney been treating you?” or “Having a good time in Sydney?” etc, but the purpose of asking these questions is one and the same, which is to hear you talk about your experience in Sydney. Now, look, you may not be in love with Sydney or whichever city you happen to be in, but I don’t think it would be a good idea to criticize the city in your first conversation, because you don’t quite know how the other person feels about it, so play it safe, and say something like “I haven’t had the chance to see much of it believe it or not, but Sydney’s a lovely city; it’s amazing how multicultural it is, is it much different from the other Aussie states?”


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