Awkward and painful.” That’s how a brilliant friend and colleague described her recent experience at a professional meeting. She didn’t know anyone sitting around her and was clueless about how to break the ice. Her reluctance to initiate conversation caused her to avoid even making eye contact. Retreating inward, she missed out on potential networking relationships all around her. Here was someone who has so much to offer anyone lucky enough to engage in conversation with her yet she remained silent.

These people keep me up nights. I need a resource to give to them—as well as to those who do know how to break the ice but don’t know how to do it in purposeful ways or to keep the connection going. In other words, I need a simple resource ...

Get Perfect Phrases for Icebreakers: Hundreds of Ready-to-Use Phrases to Set the Stage for Productive Conversations, Meetings, and Events now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from nearly 200 publishers.