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7 Tips to Help You Make Real Connections at Work and in Life

Work and day-to-day life are more enjoyable with meaningful relationships. Recent McKinsey surveys indicate that employees value connections at work more than most organizations realize.

It is nice to have someone to talk to. And, the more people you know, the more likely it is that one of them will be able to help you when you need it. You are also able to help more people when you have more connections.

It is not just about who you know you know. It is also about who knows you, which is the title of a terrific book by David Avrin.

Use these strategies to connect on a deeper level with the people around you:

 

1.Be willing to start small. It is unlikely that the CEO of a Fortune 50 company that you are not affiliated with is going to join you for a burger and beer. Start by taking one small step. If that goes well, you will have the chance to escalate the relationship down the road one step at a time.

   i. Ask a colleague to join you for coffee or a walk around the building

   ii. Ask a neighbor if they would like to play pickup basketball or join your March Madness bracket

   iii. Call a high school friend to catch up

   iv. Reach out to someone with similar professional interests

2.Say yes to opportunities. The work will always be waiting for you. Do not skip the work gatherings. Getting people talking in more casual situations is important to build connections. Office birthday parties, the conversation at the coffee maker, holiday potlucks, and the time before the meeting starts are all great opportunities to say hello and start a conversation.

   ●Many people are often shy, and they may be waiting for someone to talk to them. You can be that person.

3.Be a joiner. Many organizations and communities have softball teams, volunteer organizations, or a Toastmasters Club. Get involved. Your local community has plenty of social opportunities, too. Once you sign up for something that interests you, make sure you actually participate. We understand! It is easy to sign up for an event and then not go. Remember that part of connecting is showing up.

4.Take a genuine interest. One of the best ways to grow a relationship of any kind is to show genuine interest in the other person. Use their name when you speak to them. Give them your full attention. Show enthusiasm when you see them. Remember the things they have told you in the past. Be interested in what they care about. Ask how their child’s birthday party was, or how the important presentation was received.

5.Use your lunch hour wisely. There is a common saying in the business world – “Never eat alone.” Instead staying at your desk and eating your lunch alone, spend that time sharing a meal with someone.

6.Be approachable. Think about the kind of people you naturally like when you first meet them. They seem like they are in a good mood. They seem friendly and open to conversation. Maybe they are smiling. We have all seen people who seem very approachable. We have also been around people who are unapproachable.

7.Be fascinating. I love Sally Hogshead’s work on how to be fascinating. Have an interesting life and be willing to discuss it.

   ● What do you do that is interesting to other people? Do you breed snakes? Tell people about it.
   ● Do you compete in barbeque contests? Share that information.
   ● Maybe you collect antiques or rescue cats. That is interesting.

No one wants to be around people who constantly talk about themselves, but others also want to get to know you and how interesting you are, so share some fun information to help people develop a connection with you.

Relationships add spice and stability to life. Create connections.

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