Don’t be too direct! Start your conversation with icebreakers

*All levels*

If you have spoken Spanish with Latin Americans before, you probably know they usually don’t go straight to the point immediately, they chat a bit first.

When you need to ask someone to do something, or you just need something, it’s very important to interact with the person a little bit before you ask. It could be rude for some people if you don’t have a small talk before. Let’s go to an example to see the whole picture.

This is the situation:   

You would like to start an alliance with another company, you have been in touch by email with the decision maker, and agreed to have a meeting.

If you just introduced yourself and started talking about the topic, it could be a little abrupt for your listener, and you might not have caused a great impression.

So, how can you have a successful meeting?

  • Start with friendly greetings:

Depending on the relationship you have built you could say:

¡Hola! ¡Buenas tardes! ¿Qué tal? ¿Cómo ha(s) estado? ¿Cómo le/te ha ido? ¿Qué tal todo? ¿Cómo van las cosas?  

  •  If you have some background of the person or the company, show genuine interest:

¿Mucho trabajo? ¿Qué tal la familia? ¿Qué tal el cambio de sede? ¿Cómo van los proyectos?

  • Don’t say vague and short answers. Try to say at least another sentence:

To the question: ¿Qué tal todo? Don’t say only: “bien.” Try to say something else, for example: “bien, con mucho trabajo”/ “emocionado con el proyecto”, or if you just don’t know what to say, the weather is always something to talk about. You can say: “bien, con frío/con calor/contento con el clima”.

  • Once you started the conversation, try to move it to the point you want to tackle:

If the person commented about working hard, for example, you can mention how convenient it is to have help and later on how your company could give a hand with an alliance, in a win-win strategy.

The core of the issue is to create a friendly and smooth conversation to build trust and confidence with your new stakeholder.

Of course, you shouldn’t take half an hour talking about personal issues and not covering the topic you want, it’s just about some comments that would make a great difference in order to create a fluent relationship.

By Yenny Urrego – Espanovo Team