We’ve seen what a workplace that embraces its human elements can accomplish. Some of the most successful organizations have benefitted from allowing a healthy amount of interaction. Employees themselves also achieve growth in their professional and personal lives through engaging in direct communication and socialization in their work environment.
But some of us are still confused at how best to start forming relationships with others at work. We’ve rounded out a simple and sincere approach to connecting with your coworkers. Have a look at these steps you can take!
- Smile (or at least maintain a neutral expression)
Nothing discourages coworkers from reaching out to you quite like a facial expression that says “I’m not in a good mood”. Alternatively, they’re not likely to respond well to someone trying to get acquainted with them while wearing that kind of expression.
The ideal here would be to wear a simple but sincere smile, but of course there are days that really strain your patience. Just remember to not let your facial expression reflect your stress or frustration, so others will not be overly cautious of approaching or responding to you.
- Initiate at the right time
We’ve said before that timing is an important factor to consider when working, and that rushing to make the first step is not always the best course of action. This applies to forming workplace connections, as well.
Observe and be considerate of a colleague’s state of mind or mood when attempting to approach them. When they seem to be in no mood to interact, don’t force it just for the sake of making a new friend. Gauge when and where the best time and place would be to initiate that first conversation.
- Ask questions
Nobody likes a one-sided conversation. The healthiest way to sustain a coworker’s interest in forging a meaningful bond with you is to show that you’re interested in them and in life from their point of view.
You can achieve this best by asking someone about things they would not be embarrassed to share in a casual conversation. Pose a non-invasive and simple question about something that you observed from them, like their choice of desk personalizing decor or the music they listen to. Get them to open up to you gradually and organically.
- Tell stories
In much the same way that a person who manipulates the conversation is unpleasant, a person who never contributes anything is boring. You’ve gotten your coworkers to share their stories; tell your own. They’re more likely to listen to you talking that way instead of delivering information like a report.
Make conversations more meaningful by framing the things you say within anecdotes. Sustain the connection with humor or human insight. Is there a personal detail you want to share with your new friends at work? Make it more interesting with a funny tale.
- Set limits
With any kind of interaction with other people comes the risk of being too familiar or too inquisitive. Avoid asking a person to share information that may be deemed sensitive or confidential, or things that they may not be ready to tell other people.
This also works in the other direction. Be honest with your coworkers about what your boundaries are. Don’t impose consideration and respect from them, but do be clear that there are certain things you don’t want to share or discuss.