With the holiday party season upon us, it’s time to polish up the networking skills. At your next cocktail function, try listening for “conversational icebergs.”

When schmoozing, many people will hint at something they are passionate about. It may be a casual mention of a fishing trip. It might be a suggestion of a favorite book. It might be a little comment on a type of motorcycle. Those little mentions are “conversational icebergs”.

Probing about the iceberg, listening, and showing genuine interest is the key to starting the relationship.

How do you recognize a Conversational Iceberg?

The key is to listen carefully for something that sounds like it might be of special interest.

If you ask what the person did on vacation and she mentions that she rode motorcycles, the mention of the motorcycles is the “iceberg.” Now ask “How long have you been riding motorcycles?”

If the person is wearing a necktie with pictures of fly fishing lures, the necktie is a “conversational iceberg.” You might get the conversation going with “I like your tie. Are you interested in fly fishing?”

Or perhaps you ask a person how they got started in the business and they say “I actually started as a meter reader.” If the person is now chairman of the board, that means they’ve had quite a journey. You might follow up by asking “How did you go from being a meter reader to being chairman of the board?”

Conversational icebergs aren’t hard to spot. And if you find one and show a little interest, you’ll have the start of a great relationship.

© Wickedgood | Dreamstime.com – ChristmasParty

Speechworks is a communication and selling skills coaching firm. We teach professionals how to craft and deliver complex messages in a simple, persuasive manner. Since 1986, through workshops and one-on-one instruction, we have helped countless individuals become better presenters and communicators. You can reach us at 404.266.0888, speech@speechworks.net or on the web at www.speechworks.net

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