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The Art of Breaking the Ice in Business

Portrait of Gregoire Vigroux
Image credit: Gregoire Vigroux via Personal Archive

Gregoir Vigroux is a serial entrepreneur and business angel who has co-founded/ invested in 20+ businesses across Eastern Europe, achieving 4 exits so far.

Grégoire Vigroux is a French Serial Entrepreneur and Business Angel, based in Romania since 2006. He co-founded and invested in 21 businesses across Eastern Europe and had 4 exits. The French entrepreneur believes entrepreneurs have an increasing role to play in shaping a meaningful world. He thinks success, in business, must come with responsibility. Profits with purpose. Growth with progress. Prosperity with philanthropy. Connect with Grégoire on Linkedin.

In this scorching summer, here are my five top tips on how to break the ice in a business meeting. 

I use a simple and effective method of breaking the ice – face-to-face as well as in video conferences – regardless of my interlocutors’ company, position, or nationality.

My goal is to create a friendly and relaxed atmosphere from the start, before getting down to business.

1/ Smile!


We only get one opportunity to make a good first impression. Brighten up your face with a broad smile, which inspires serenity and confidence. Easy and free, smiling is contagious. It eases tension. There are three types of smiles, conveying welcome, politeness, and seduction. Choose the one that suits you best!


2/ Start the conversation on a positive note.

Your interlocutor’s company has probably had a recent success, which you can read up on via social networks or in the press. Begin the conversation by referring to it – this will start things off on the right foot.


3/ Be authentic.

Approach your meetings with heart and inspiration, breaking the ice in a way that suits you. Impose your style. Don’t force it. Be natural and sincere. Making jokes can be effective. However, be sparing with humor – this is a professional meeting, not a standup comedy show.

4/ Show the other person that you are interested in them.

Do preliminary research on them, then flag up what you have in common. Who are their former employers? What is their home town? Where did they study? Social networks, starting with LinkedIn, will provide you with a wealth of information to help you to find things in common, which will bring you closer together.

Read more:  Why You Should Love Failure to Succeed in Entrepreneurship


5/ Be short and efficient.

Breaking the ice is a bit like jokes: the shorter ones are often the best. Don’t drag it out. Get to the crux of the business issue quickly, especially if your interview is only going to last thirty minutes.


I meet hundreds of new people every year. My ice-breaking techniques let me create a warm atmosphere from the very start.

Used well, these tips will help you establish a personal and positive dimension to approach your meetings under optimum conditions. Now all that remains is for me to say: may you break icebergs!


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