When we want to talk to someone we don’t know, we always start by finding ways to break the ice. It’s sort of like a social ritual, as if we need a lead-in before we talk. But when our future interlocutor is someone we’ve dreamt of meeting for several years, the stakes are not the same. The first impression is always important because, as caricatured as it is, it nevertheless influences the attention someone will pay to you. Moreover, these first seconds will determine the position you take with respect to others, in terms of domination, submission, or neutrality. To create a balanced connection, there are three simple and effective approaches: find a similarity, compliment or collaborate.
Finding a similarity is interesting because it means that at some point, you have thought, said or done the same thing. A common point is often a good basis for initiating a conversation on an equal footing. Giving a compliment is just as effective. Even if the flatterer doesn’t have good press, we must admit that flattery is always nice to hear. Furthermore, it gives you the opportunity to share your feelings and so long as they’re sincere, they show your personality. Finding the opportunity to collaborate with someone we don’t know is never obvious. Yet, doing something together is definitely the best way to create a lasting bond. That is why it is often easier to make contacts in a gym than in a conference room.
This preparatory work also applies to public speaking. The first impression you make will influence the manner in which your audience will listen to you and the amount of credibility they will grant you. If you find the exercise difficult, ask yourself a simple question: if we have nothing in common, if there’s no opportunity to make a compliment of any sort, if there’s nothing for us to do together, then why do I want to speak to him?