Work and day-to-day life are more enjoyable when you have meaningful relationships. It’s 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 out in a big way down the road.
It’s not just about who you know, but that’s a big part of it. Who you know can change your life! If you know the right people, big things can happen. It’s also important to connect with others for social reasons.
Consider how much you would do for a good friend. Your relationships are valuable on multiple levels.
Use these strategies to connect with the people around you:
1. Be willing to start small. It’s unlikely that the CEO of a Fortune 50 company is going to join you for a burger and beer. It’s also unlikely that a complete stranger walking down the street is interested in spending a weekend with you.
● Start by taking one small step. If that goes well, you’ll have the chance to escalate the relationship down the road one step at a time.
● Ask a colleague to join you for coffee.
● Ask a neighbor if they’d like to play golf.
● Start a conversation with a neighbor.
2. Take advantage of opportunities. Office birthday parties, the coffee maker, water cooler, someone new moves into your neighborhood, the time before the meeting starts: These are all great opportunities to say hello and start a conversation.
● Most people are waiting for someone to talk to them. You can be that person.
3. Join organizations. Many workplaces have softball teams, volunteer organizations, or a Toastmasters Club. Get involved. Your local community has plenty of social opportunities, too.
● Be assertive and sign yourself up for something that interests you that will bring you into contact with others.
4. Show 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’ve told you in the past. For example, if they tell you Friday that they’re going to see a movie, be sure to ask them about it the next time you see them.
5. Use your lunch hour wisely. There’s a common saying in the business world – “Never eat alone.” Instead just sitting there 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 first meeting them. They’re probably in a good mood, very open, and smiling. We’ve all seen people that look very approachable. We’ve also all seen people that look very unapproachable. Be the former.
7. Be open and interesting. Have an interesting life and be willing to discuss it. Who wants to hang out with someone that just works and watches TV?
● Do you breed snakes? Tell people about it.
● Do you compete in barbeque contests? Share that information.
● Maybe you collect Spiderman comics or rescue cats. That’s interesting.
● However, realize that no one will know how interesting you are if you keep your life a secret!
Relationships add spice and stability to life. The people in your life can also potentially do a lot for you. It’s nice to have a ride to the airport, be invited to parties, or to be offered jobs that haven’t even been announced. Create connections with the people around you. You never know what might happen.