Most people have a need to connect with others—in all walks of their lives. But creating connections at work can be difficult. Everyone is so busy and focused on what needs to get done.
This is the time of year in most organizations when people are gathering to celebrate the end of the year, the upcoming holidays, and some time off. This is a great opportunity to get to know someone a little better. If you are like employees at most companies, you are soon going to find yourself with a piece of cake in your hand, standing next to a fellow co-worker wondering what to talk about. Instead of seeing it as another challenging “small talk” situation, see it as an opportunity to strengthen a relationship and create a connection.
The best way to break the ice is to ask a question. Here are a couple of suggestions to help you get started:
- Do things quiet down in your department this time of year—or is there a mad rush to get things done?
- Are you taking any time off this month?
- How’s your holiday shopping going?
Don’t be an interrogator, but keep the ball in their court. Once they’ve responded to your initial question, ask a follow-up. What was interesting about what they said? What would you like to find out more about?
After they’ve shared for awhile, be sure to give them a break and share a little about your experience and plans. A little bit of disclosure and a little bit of sharing can go a long way to help create the personal connection that just about all of us crave.
The holidays are a great time to connect. Take advantage of this opportunity to create stronger work relationships. It’s good for you and the organization.