Everyone knows that awkward feeling of being the new hire at a workplace and not having anyone to spend the lunch-break with. Building a social network fast at work will help you in many different ways: it will make it easier for you to seek help, it will open more career opportunities, it will help you to stay motivated, and keep track of the emotional atmosphere at work.
In short, it will simply make communication easier. Therefore helping you to connect with your peers and to enjoy your time at the office.
Introverts vs. Extroverts: Can Both Make Personal Connections?
We are usually taught that there are two types of people, extroverts and introverts. And that extroverts have a much easier time relating to others and building social networks. While this is true, being social is not a gift. It is a trainable skill, and with practice anyone can become better at making interpersonal connections.
Let’s have a look at 5 ways that can help you build your social network at work more efficiently and effectively.
1 Be present in your space to personally connect
Don’t be the person who shows up at work every morning, works at the desk, and then leaves without anyone noticing. Start presenting yourself to everyone you meet at the office the first day, and tell them why you are there. From there on, greet everyone in the morning and say goodbye to them in the evening, even (and especially) if they are not in your way.
This will show them that you are open to communication and that you are aware of them, stimulating your peers to do the same. You will more likely not be able to greet everyone, but that is not the point. Building personal networks is all about going out of your usual social environment and trying to develop communication channels with people you would not connect with otherwise.
2 Divide social time from work time
We easily lose the balance between social interactions and productivity. We either neglect work to build relationships or we focus too much on our tasks and forget everyone around us.
Work hard during your working hours, and enjoy a good cup of coffee with your coworkers during the breaks. In this way, you will make your boss happy without risking to overwork or being the “antisocial” one on the team.
Related: How to Avoid Transactional Relationships at Work
3 Embrace emotions to personally connect
This is something we all struggle with: in an attempt to please everyone, some people fall into a state of “emotional neutrality,” suppressing every strong emotion they feel.
Why show your personal feelings?
If you do this, you will either be seen as someone emotionless or someone who hides their own true feelings, therefore who is better not to trust.
What you want to do is embrace your emotions and show your personality to your peers, it will tell them that you are genuine and show them your taste. They will either sympathize with you or at least respect you for being honest.
Develop emotional awareness
In addition to this, try to be aware of other’s emotions and relate to them.
Try to talk to many different people and get a feeling of what the common feelings at the workplace are. Discovering the “emotional atmosphere” will help you to move better in the social environment and ease your communications.
Lastly, ask questions if you feel like your peers are not doing well and offer your help or support. Remember that people connect through joy or pain, and emotions are the best gateway for long term relationships.
4 Promote professional and personal social events to create a personal connection
The best environments to create new connections are in person at social events, therefore, you should do your part to encourage them. Participate in the ones you like and most importantly explain why you don’t go when you don’t.
The last thing you want is people to think that you didn’t go because you don’t like them or because you have better things to do with your time. Don’t get us wrong, it is ok to dislike someone, but try to always be fair and don’t let your bias influence you. Give everyone a chance, you might be surprised how they behave in different situations.
How to connect if you don’t enjoy standard social events?
Furthermore, if you find yourself skipping all the social events because you just don’t like them, then start proposing different ones yourself. Try to bring your peers in an environment in which you feel comfortable and in activities that you enjoy.
5 Be aware of other’s importance to win more connections
Lastly, let’s focus on the most crucial concept to build more social connections. This last section is about being true to yourself and practicing what you preach.
Be aware that your coworkers are people just as important as you are, and deserve the same respect, attention, and care that you do. Understanding this is what will really make a difference in your social interactions. It will teach you how to judge your own behavior and how to improve it. If you are genuine and honest to yourself, people will feel it, and they will naturally start to gravitate around you and build interest in you. Remember that after all the work, the salary and the business, people and personal connections are all we have left, and they should be our priorities.
To sum things up:
1: Show your presence to others and be the first one to start the connection. Don’t wait for the perfect moment, just start trying.
2: Get your tasks done but enjoy your brakes. Separate work time from social time.
3: Emotions are powerful. Don’t fear them but embrace them and use them to build strong relationships.
4: Social events are the best way to build networks, use them. If you don’t like the current one propose different activities.
5: Understand that your coworkers are just as important as you are. Act as you would like others to act.