NSA 15 Year Member National Speaker Association

Top 10 Icebreakers for Holiday Mingling!
By Debra Fine

Do you dread holiday parties? Does attending or hosting another open house make you want to stay inside your office and lock the door?

The following timely tips can be clicked and saved in a jacket pocket, cocktail purse or written in the palm of your hand. This holiday season every new face is a new opportunity for conversational success. Don’t find yourself alone in the corner, hanging out by the bar, or jumping ship. Use the tips provided here to help guarantee you will be a small talk survivor!

Top 10 Icebreakers:

  1. “What is your connection to the host/hostess or event?”
  2. “What do you enjoy the most about this time/season of the year?”
  3. “Describe how this season of the year impacts your work?”
  4. “Bring me up to date about your life/work/family since the last time we got together…”
  5. “Tell me about your plans for the holidays…”
  6. “Describe you favorite holiday tradition…”
  7. “What challenges do you encounter at this time of year?”
  8. “Tell me about a special gift you have given or received?”
  9. “What is your favorite holiday? Why?”
  10. “What have you got going on during the coming year?”

Conversation Killers to Avoid:

  1. “Are you married?” or “Do you have any kids?” Where are you going with either one of these if the response is “No”?
  2. “How’s your job at Boeing, United Airlines, Martha Stewart Enterprises (fill in the blank)?” Unless you know a person well, assume nothing! Don’t put them on the spot like that. Instead ask: “What’s been going on with work?”
  3. “How’s your wife?” (She left, took all the money, the kids and the got the house!)
  4. “Merry Christmas!” “What are your Christmas plans?” Not all of us celebrate Christmas.
  5. At all costs avoid “Is that real?” “Are those real?”

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Mastering The Art of Small Talk



Debra Fine special on CBS Channel 4 News. Debra Fine is a professional speaker, best selling author, conversation expert, communication guru, and a nationally recognized spokesperson.


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The Fine Art of Small Talk: How to Start a Conversation, Keep It Going, Build Networking Skills – And Leave a Positive Impression! (Unabridged) Nationally recognized communication expert, keynote speaker and trainer, and best-selling author Debra Fine reveals the techniques and strategies anyone can use to make small talk - in any situation. Do you spend an abnormal amount of time hiding out in the bathroom or hanging out at the buffet table at social gatherings?


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Our group of 500 participants thought you were wonderful. They loved the topic and your wonderfully energetic and amusing delivery. Many people told me we should have given you twice as much time. In the eight years that we have sponsored this conference you have proved to be our most popular luncheon speaker. The response was simply overwhelming"
Melodye A. Turek
Executive Director
Colorado Safety Association