Breaking the ice is a turn of phrase to start a conversation. It might sound easy, but starting a conversation with a stranger or someone in general for the first time requires a lot of self-confidence. There are times when that little voice in our heads tells us that we are not good enough, or that the person we are about to talk to won't like us... Forget this little bugger.
If there is something that I have learned over my time living and working in both Ottawa and Toronto, it is that if you think you are afraid or hesitant to speak to someone, they are probably just as hesitant to speak back to you. Think about it, why are you always the one who is hesitant? The other person has to be in the same boat some of the time. The way I see any conversation is that I someone is talking to me, not the other way around. If I want to stop you on the street and say hello, I am inviting you to a conversation with me. I want you to give yourself some credit- you're a pretty cool person!
The purpose of these calls is to quash any feelings of isolation and loneliness, and as the news networks will indicate, there is a huge demand for togetherness- especially right now.
Here are two sites with a massive list of conversation starters.
There is one tried and true method to talking to anyone though...
F.O.R.D. for small talk – Family, Occupation, Recreation, and Dreams (future or literal.)
Using the F.O.R.D. method, you can start a conversation about one of these topics, and it is sure to get things going.
Let's try an example...
M: Hi, my name is Mitch. How are you?
T: Hello, I'm fine.
M: Sorry, I didn't catch your name.
T: Oh, sorry, it's Tara.
M: I like that name, I think we'll get along famously.
T: Okay. I'm not too sure what to talk about.
M: Let's start with your family... Do you have any brothers or sisters?
T: I do, but I haven't seen them in a long time.
M: I think sometimes, life can guide people down their own little paths, but sooner or later, we meet back up with each other. What are their names?
T: I suppose you're right. Their names are James and Julie.
M: I have a brother as well, but I also don't see him very often. I'm sure he misses me! What is your most fond memory of your sister?
T: Oh, I remember we would bake short bread cookies in the fall, and I always got to make the shapes for the cookies.
**Something like this is a great way to bring someone into a conversation with you when they may not feel comfortable or they are the shy one.**
Update on Virtual visitors:
We are gaining and organizing patrons and volunteers very quickly, and calls should be starting soon!