We’ve all heard the saying, “It’s not what you know; it’s who.” In other words, you increase your chances of professional success by building solid relationships, especially in your chosen industry. In fact, 85 percent of this success is a direct result of your people skills.
Sure, there will always be people born with a natural ability to establish a rapport with anyone, but it’s really a skill like any other — which means you can learn it too. All you need to do is devote a little time and effort to strengthening those particular muscles.
If you’re ready to start building stronger relationships with colleagues, we recommend trying a few basic tactics:
1. Listen. People can get so caught up in what they’re about to say that they forget to really listen to what other people are saying. If you find yourself doing the same, fix your focus back to the conversation and show you’re listening with visual cues, like maintaining eye contact, tilting the head, nodding, and even leaning slightly forward. After all, people naturally bond to those who listen.
2. Ask. Not everyone picks up on visual cues, so it’s important to follow up with verbal signs that demonstrate you not only heard but understand what he or she is saying. Repeat back what was said — in your own words, of course — to make sure both of you are on the same page. Doing so can encourage people to open up and share more, helping to deepen the relationship.
3. Observe. Think about the last time someone followed up on something you mentioned in a past conversation. It felt good, didn’t it? Coworkers are no different. If you really pay attention, people will let you know what’s important to them. Fix those factoids in your mind and bring one of them up in a later exchange. Recalling important aspects of other people’s lives can further build those relationships.
4. Share. Obviously, you want to share aspects of your life with other people — that said, only when appropriate. Pace yourself and parcel out your story over time. And when we talk about sharing, we also mean participating in your colleagues’ emotions. If someone is feeling joy, frustration, or excitement, try to share in that too. It demonstrates your sensitivity and awareness to other people’s emotions.
5. Compose. We’ve all worked with someone whose moods can run from one extreme to another, making it a challenge to really develop any sort of relationship. If your temper is running hot, don’t take it out on others around you. If, however, you’re experiencing a rough patch, it’s often better to be open and honest. Your coworkers will appreciate your candor and may feel closer to you for it.
6. Enjoy. A people person genuinely enjoys being around others, and they’re comfortable with being themselves, which often puts those around them at ease. Find the confidence in yourself to be whoever you are — not to mention, keep a positive attitude in the workplace — and your coworkers will just naturally want to be around you.
Building solid relationships with your coworkers will not only make work more enjoyable, it will help increase your professional success! Try implementing these tips to start off on the right foot. Once your colleagues have gotten to know you a bit more, try inviting them out to lunch or to grab a coffee. This will create an opportunity to grow your relationship on a personal level and share a conversation (and maybe even a few laughs!) outside of the office.
If you are ready to find that perfect job where you can build meaningful relationships, let the experienced recruiters at Digital People help you land that opportunity! Contact your local office to get started.