March 2017

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Page 28 of 81 | Mobility 25 AROUND THE WORLDWIDE ERC ® Young Professionals The chances are, at one stage in your career, you have been on the receiving end of an uncomfortable "classic" icebreaker. This can leave a lasting impression of a faux attempt to create a personal connection and can, in some instances, overshadow your whole discussion. By the same token, you have probably also attempted to use one of these classic icebreakers to facilitate your own conversation and break the awkward silence. So why are the following classic icebreakers still used? • When did you arrive? • How is your conference going? • How was your fl ight? Why do we default to such uninspiring questions to spark a conversation? Given the raft of technological devices at our dis- posal, it is important to remember how to eff ectively converse with each other, particularly in a professional face-to-face environment. The way to position yourself to pose a meaningful and thought-provoking question is through good habits, enthusiasm, and practice. Practicing good habits in this instance stems from awareness of the event and meeting topics, familiarity with speakers, and knowledge of attendees. From this, you can begin to shortlist what topics may be of interest and whether there are any specifi c ties with your conversation partner's employer. Resultantly, one should be able to brainstorm ideas for well- thought-out and tailored initial questions and follow-up questions. Sometimes such contextual information is not always available in advance. This makes thinking of a question slightly more diffi cult, but by no means impossible. Thorough research and understanding of relevant and contemporary industry topics, coupled with enthusiasm, is enough to prepare an engaging and meaningful fi rst question. Professionals are more likely to make a fi rm connection with their peers if they are considerate and passionate. Alternatively, be prepared to pose a thought-provoking question and engage the other person's enthusiasm for the particular meeting. It is important to remember that thinking of and cre- ating interesting questions is a skill which can be learnt and improved through practice. Challenge yourself to think of interesting and tailored icebreakers, and prac- tice during appropriate professional encounters. Taking the above into account, the following is one example of a relevant and engaging initial question: "Smartphones have revolutionized how we interact; how are you positively integrating technology into your company and everyday professional life?" Let us break the ice covering our power of thought and intellect, and really make that lasting impression with our initial question. Brian Egan Global Supply Chain Specialist Plus Relocation What is the best question to spark a great conversation? What is your go-to icebreaker?

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