Many of you have messaged me saying: “I’d like to meet new people and make more friends, but I feel like I’ve forgotten how to socialize.” If mixing and mingling has become a challenge for you, here are some universal ideas for speaking with others that can help anyone break the conversation-ice to start new friendships or improve work relationships as well.

Smile! Nothing shows that you are open to a conversation like a smile. Out of practice? Pretend you’re a model: Stand in front of a mirror and smile while moving your body. Practice regularly until you get comfortable with doing it naturally.

Compliment. Find something about another that you can genuinely compliment. Whether a jacket, scarf, hairstyle—certainly you can find something that deserves a compliment toward another. This is likely the second-fastest way to melt ice. Everyone likes to hear a sincere compliment.

Name it! After you meet someone, use their name. First off, this forces you to be very present, because you have to remember names! Second, saying another’s name is personal and will make them feel more special.

Use your body. Lean toward those you are speaking with. No wall-hanging. If you must cross your arms to be comfortable, cross them behind your back—not in front of you, creating a barricade.

Focus. Bring your eyes into the conversation. Look at the other’s eyes. Eye contact creates an extremely powerful connection.

Wear an article of clothing that is a bright, vibrant color. Color draws people and it’s often a conversation-starter in itself. Another may come up to you to compliment you on your bold selection.

Start near the food—but move away! Food tends to keep conversations stationary.

To meet people, you’ll need to get comfortable with at least a few of the tips above—so you can get out and mingle! As I’ve said before, life is for the living and connecting with other people is one of the best aspects of life. Today is a good day to restart connecting!