From the Desk of Jan Goss-Gibson

The CEO and founder of Civility Consulting shares her secrets for conversing with conviction.

By Kelly Lindner, Photo by Kevin Garner

Her Notes: Icebreakers

Austin Woman asked Jan Goss- Gibson to provide some go-to one-liners for when you don’t know anyone in the room. 

“You don’t want to get it too personal,” she says. “I know people say, ‘Well, what do you do for a living?’ But you don’t know what they’re going through at work or home.”

Here, Goss-Gibson gives us options for breaking the ice: 

1. Hello, I’m (Name). 
“You always begin with ‘Hello,’ not ‘Hi,’ not ‘Hey.’ Professionals say ‘Hello.’ It’s your duty to introduce yourself. You don’t wait for the other person.” 

2. Thank you for inviting me/having this party/hosting this event. 
“Gratitude is always the right thing to do. Find the host and tell them, ‘Thank you.’ ” 

3. It’s so warm/cold/beautiful outside. 
“The weather is a safe thing to talk about. It gives us common ground.” 

4. Do you have any fun plans for the week/weekend/holiday/month? 
“Keep it positive.” 

5. I love that_____________. I really admire your_____________. 
“Be free with genuine compliments.” 

6. How are you connected to the host? 
“Be others-oriented.”


“The best way for a woman to show confidence is to fall madly in love with herself. Confidence comes from being comfortable in your own skin.”