5 Ways to Break the Ice With New Pre-Business Classmates
It can be hard to start up a conversation with a stranger — but once you find a way to break the ice, conversation will flow much smoother. Breaking the ice, though, can be challenging for some, especially those who are more reserved and shy.
Even if you’re uncomfortable, it’s important to push through and make an effort to break the ice with your pre-business peers. Those classmates will be good connections to have and resources to tap if you miss a class and need notes or don’t want to attend a networking event alone.
Here are five ways to break the ice with new pre-business classmates.
1. Show Interest
If there are already people sitting down in the classroom when you walk in, rather than finding a seat or picking a desk or table with nobody around, choose to sit next to someone already seated. This way, you can start to break the ice by asking them if anyone is sitting next to them. Once you’ve gotten the all-clear to sit down by them, introduce yourself and show you’re interested in not just sitting by them, but actually getting to know them.
Showing interest and making that first gesture will make the other person feel special since you chose to sit next to them and want to be more than just seatmates. To really establish your interest, continue sitting in the same spot by the same person each class so you’ll have the opportunity to build on your initial acquaintanceship throughout the semester.
2. Ask Questions
Once you’ve established some interest, the next step to continue to break the ice is to start asking questions. Don’t interrogate or interview the person, but ask a question or two to get the conversation started and keep asking questions to prolong the conversation. Ask the person you’re speaking to some basic conversation starters, such as where they’re from, their year in school, and their major.
Once you’ve got those questions out of the way, go a little deeper and ask why they’re taking the course, what got them interested in business, where they live on or off campus, and what other classes they’re taking or have taken for their major. To move the conversation away from school-related topics, you can ask if they watched a recent sports game or attended a school sporting event, if they’ve been watching a certain TV show, or about some other subject that’s been in the news.
Asking these questions, and others, will help you to break the ice and make the person you’re talking to feel as if you’re genuinely interested in getting to know them.
3. Find Common Ground
Part of the reasoning behind asking questions is to help you start to find commonalities between you and your classmate. Establishing common ground serves as a foundation upon which to build your relationship, and it’s much easier to do so when you have things in common.
Right off the bat, you’re both pre-business and in the same class, but uncovering other similarities is important to take your relationship to the next level. By asking questions and getting to know the other person, you’ll be able to figure out what interests you have in common and start to move beyond acquaintanceship.
4. Give A Compliment
Perhaps the easiest way to break the ice initially is to compliment the person you’re hoping to talk to. When you compliment someone, you start the conversation with something you like about them, making them feel good about themselves and that much more interested in talking to you.
You can compliment anything from their backpack to their outfit to the screensaver or cover on their laptop, etc. Don’t just say “I like your [insert item here]” though; take it a step further and ask a question about it like where they got it, etc., depending on what you’re complimenting.
By giving a compliment and following it up with a question, you’ve already started to break the ice and pave the way for you to ask more questions and start to get to know your classmate.
5. Comment on the Class
When you enter the classroom, if there’s multiple people already seated, it may be awkward to just pick one person to sit next to and start a conversation with. You don’t want to alienate other classmates in your pursuit of getting to know someone so rather than just breaking the ice with one person, make an attempt to break the ice in general.
When you sit down, comment on the class and direct it to the room at large. You can make a comment about the homework or reading for the course, the professor, or what you’ve heard about the class. This way, you leave your conversation-starter open to response from everyone in the classroom and break the ice for everybody in there.
Use these five methods to break the ice with your pre-business classmates — you may feel awkward or be anxious about putting yourself out there, but once the ice is broken, you’ll feel like the room got warmer.
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