We can learn a lot about the art of conversation and personal engagement from ice cream truck drivers

10 things Ice Cream Trucks taught me about the art of conversation!

“Would you like people to look forward to having a conversation with you? Here are some key things we can learn about the art of engagement from an ice cream truck driver!”

Consider following these points and create some ice cream truck moments of your own!

I saw an ice cream truck stop in front of my house on Monday. When I heard its tinkly music playing, I smiled, and I immediately experienced a wave of happy anticipation as if I was a little kid again.  

All it took was a few, musical notes to transport me back to my childhood neighborhood in Queens, New York. Every summer evening an ice cream truck patrolled our neighborhood like clockwork. When I heard the music, I always hoped that this would be the day that my mother would give me some money to buy ice cream.

So as the adult me watched the truck make its way ever so slowly down the street, I thought about my instantaneous, positive reaction. And no, I didn’t go bolting after the truck! Instead, I asked myself “Wouldn’t it be great if we could all create this upbeat emotion in our everyday conversations?”

What did my ice cream truck experience do that prompted these thoughts? Yes, my love of ice cream for sure, but there had to be more to it. What made me think about the art of conversation? Well, here’s my non-scientific analysis:

  1. AnticipationThe truck’s distinctive music announced that an enjoyable experience was forthcoming.
  2. A Positive Experience – Ever since I was observing the world from my stroller, I have known that these trucks represented a happy bit of summer bliss in a cone.
  3. A Cheerful GreetingThe driver would always welcome me like an important customer.
  4. Personalized ServiceThe careful examination of ice cream choices was part of the fun, as was the glee when the driver presented my order to me with a flourish.
  5. Customer SatisfactionI knew sitting back, on my front stoop (aka front steps) that I was unwrapping a bit of rapidly melting, happiness

Here are a few things we can all do to build some “ice cream truck” moments into our conversations and interactions.

  • Present  in a consistently pleasant manner
    • Commit to contributing positively, authentic energy in your interactions
    • Conduct a “self-check” to ensure that any negative experiences you’ve been carrying have been left behind even if it’s only temporarily
  • Be present  and engaged in the conversation
    • Put your cell phone away and commit to a sustained, uninterrupted, live interaction.
    • Manage your body language. Face  the person you’re speaking to and keep your head up
  • Practice active listening and eye contact
    • Do more listening than talking
    • Remember that conversations are unscripted which renders them full of unplanned possibilities. Be patient and wait to be surprised
  • Treat your conversation  as if it is the most important interaction, you’re having that day
    • Maintain your focused attention
    • Ask questions and don’t interrupt


Julienne B. Ryan is the author of The Learned-It-In-Queens Communications Playbook – Winning Against Digital Distraction” and a storyteller, speaker, trainer, and coach. She is on a mission to improve how we communicate with each other, one authentic conversation at a time.  Click on this link to learn more about her services.