Do you like your colleagues? Do you find yourself making friends in the office or connecting with your boss?
These are great questions to ask yourself, and depending on your answers you may be wondering how to build and nurture business based relationships. It can feel wrong to hit it off with your employer and look forward to lunch with your colleagues, but it doesn’t have to. Building authentic connections in the office or workplace can be such an asset to your career.
The other day while I was working, I was thinking about how well I knew the people I collaborated with every day. Have I met the entire team? Does everyone in the company know my name and could they recognize my face? I am naturally an outgoing lady and want to engage with people, I try and do my best in the networking arena. We are all trying to make connections, and meet new people, but, the trickier task is keeping these relationships alive. The key to doing this effectively is keeping the conversation consistent, and building off those initial connections. It can be overwhelming, awkward and you may even feel defeated. What is the point? Let me tell you!
This is WHY you should put more energy into your business relationships and HOW you can do this with some simple tips and tricks.
It’s Who You Know (and more importantly who knows you!)
“It’s who you know.” I have heard this statement from everyone. Who you know (and more importantly, who knows you!) will significantly impact your career, success and future goals. Having influential and successful people in your network is like the golden ticket to get you wherever it is you want to go.
This reason alone should drive you to keep your network close to you. What I mean is, after meeting new people at events, you need to put in the work to keep those connections strong. You don’t need to be BFFs with everyone you bump into and add every single person on LinkedIn, but you do need to remain relevant.
Think about it like this…you meet an amazing woman at an event and learn that you both love yoga. You exchange Instagrams and see a picture pop up in your feed of her doing a challenging new pose. You remember the conversation and comment on her photo “Wow! That pose is amazing; I need to up my flexibility and strength. Which studio was this at?!” Odds are, she will see your comment and remember the conversation you had with her while in person. She will feel flattered at the compliment and maybe even invite you to a class with her (who knows!). Moving forward, you will be the “yoga girl” in her mind. That will be the connection she makes when she sees you or mentions you in conversation.
This is such a good position to be in, having something that she enjoys, as something that she connects with you, is a positive reminder of who you are. Sharing a common interest also works in your favor because something that she does weekly (takes a yoga class) may even bring you back into her mind. Which could lead to collaboration, and who knows, maybe even potential employment.
Whether it is yoga, cooking or Game of Thrones, conversation starters can be memorable. You want to make sure that the groundwork you lay while networking remains strong over time. Be mindful and bring up things via social media to catch attention and also sneakily remind your colleagues that you are friends.
Try these sneaky social media networking tips!
1. Comment on their Instagram post and refer to something you’ve previously discussed.
As long as it is related to the photo that they posted, your comment will come across showing your genuine interest and also an attention to detail. Like an inside joke you want them to feel as if they are the only ones that will fully understand what you are referring to, making them feel like an insider.
2. Share an article on LinkedIn about a topic your network will enjoy.
Being the bearer of exciting news is always a good thing! If the post you share is amazing when they show it to their friends they will say “Katy shared this post on LinkedIn the other day, you have to read it.” They might even re-share your post on LinkedIn. It is the best kind of name drop you could ask for because your name is attached to exciting news/good content. A+
3. Word of advice, if the people in your network are reaching out to connect with you on Snapchat, say no!
Unless of course, you are a brand ambassador/influencer/public figure. Try and avoid this super private look into your life. While it can feel like you are truly becoming “friends” there will always be some things that are better left unseen. Your business relationships are exactly that, business. Keep them professional by avoiding snap chat.
Make Lasting Impressions
Personally one of my goals in life is to help people and be an asset to them in any way possible. Within this aim, I have learned that making (good) lasting impressions is an amazing way to remain relevant in a person’s life. While talking about business relationships you need to understand that making a top notch first impression set’s the stage for what is to come.
By holding your standards high and always remaining who you were when you met someone you are making an ongoing impression on them. They should get good vibes from you and realise that you are genuine and honest. If the first time you exchanged conversation you were in the lunchroom making coffee, and you came across to them as super helpful and polite, maintain those qualities when moving forward. Stay true to who you are, and you will always be relevant in your colleague’s eyes.
Besides nobody wants to foster a relationship with a grumpy, closed off and rude person. Don’t be that girl. Ever.
Make Lasting Connections
They don’t teach us this in school, but you don’t have to like everyone. Believe me, if you are staying true to yourself and being a genuinely good person, you will (in time) build a healthy and beneficial network. But, it is so valuable to know that you don’t have to get off with everyone you meet throughout your career.
The real and natural connections will stick. These people that get you will be the valuable relationships that aid you down the road. Don’t break a sweat trying to suck up to bitchy CEOs.
You can’t please everyone, and it is exhausting to try. Do yourself a favour and nurture the relationships that feel valuable, that feel reciprocated and most importantly that you want to know more about.
Good luck and let us know what YOUR best office conversation starter is?