The turbulent weather over the past few weeks has been one of the hot (or rather, rainy) topics of conversation in the office this week. Will it be sunny at the weekend? Do I need to pack my sunglasses or umbrella in my work bag each day?
It seems this subject matter is far from unusual, with a recent survey stating that Brits spend six months of our lives discussing the weather.
This national fixation with the elements means Britons talk about the climate almost five times a day, spending longer dissecting its ups and downs than on sport or work.
And when it comes to meeting strangers, weather is the most common way to get a conversation started.
However, is this really the most effective way to network and engage with strangers?
In the PR industry, as with many other sectors, building contacts is key. There is no substitute for meeting people face to face in order to foster valuable working relationships.
However, walking up to a complete stranger and trying to start a conversation with them is awkward if nothing else. It’s important to know how to approach people and communicate with them in a way that feels natural.
Just what is the best way to go about this? Rather than reaching for the weather as a traditional opening gambit when meeting someone new, how about kicking off conversation with one of these….?
1. Use the event as a prompt. That was a great presentation, what do you think?
2. Just the job. What do you do? How long have you been in your profession?
3. It doesn’t have to be all work, work, work. What are your hobbies?
4. Hot off the press. Try topical events. Are you watching Euro 2012? Will you be following the Olympics?
5. Failing any of the above, try flattery! Where did you get that fabulous purse / great tie / cool laptop?
Over to you. What’s your best ice breaker?