23, Aug 2023
Building Meaningful Connections in the Workplace & Beyond
Building Connections in the Workplace
Connecting to others in the workplace is a process and will take time. Focus on putting people first and you’ll start to see results.
Make it a goal to talk to one new person each day, or to attend one campus event each week. Talking to strangers can feel intimidating or awkward, but with practice it will get easier.
The saying, “Be yourself,” is a popular piece of advice that has many interpretations and uses. It can be interpreted as an individualist philosophy, a charming rule of thumb and a lifelong quest for self-fulfillment.
Hobbies can provide clues to your personality and help you define yourself on your own terms. You may want to make a list of your personal interests and explore how you naturally express yourself in each area. For example, you might find that sharing stories of your past experiences helps you connect with others.
Building connections also involves developing a network of individuals who can support you in times of need. These relationships can also provide career opportunities and serve as references when you apply for jobs. To maintain these connections, you need to make an effort to stay in touch. This could involve scheduling regular phone calls or lunch dates with people in your network. You can also include them in your holiday card lists and send an email after a long period of time to catch up on what’s new in their lives.
Be a Good Listener
Good listeners don’t inject their own thoughts or opinions into the conversation without being asked for advice. Instead, they try to be the guiding force that keeps the focus on the speaker and their experience.
This can include asking questions that help to clarify the speaker’s point of view, and also includes repeating back important details from their perspective so they know you have accurately interpreted their words. You may also need to be able to shut out distractions like other conversations going on in the room or checking your phone.
This involves more than just listening to your partner talk; it’s also about understanding their emotions and feelings and recognizing nonverbal cues. This level of listening can be a bit more difficult, but it is necessary in a strong relationship. Empathy is the key to being a good listener, and it can be developed with practice. Just remember that it takes a lot of patience to truly listen and empathize with someone.
Make Time to Connect
People feel less lonely and more secure when they have a connection with someone. This type of relationship is called a meaningful relationship and can be found with family, friends, co-workers or people that you meet in the community.
Meaningful relationships provide support, enjoyment, encouragement and meaning in your life. It is important to spend time building these connections and maintaining them to reap the benefits that they offer.
If you want to connect with someone more deeply, focus on being present in the conversation. For example, if you are thinking about what you need to do after the conversation is over or if you are texting another person while you are talking with them, they will sense this and not feel connected to you. Focus on making eye contact, showing that you are engaged in the conversation and that you care about them. This will help them to open up and build the connection with you.
Maintain Eye Contact
Eye contact is a powerful tool for showing people that you are listening and interested. However, it can be difficult to use without appearing too intense or creepy. In addition, cultural differences can impact how often you should look at someone while talking.
For example, in many cultures, it is considered rude to look a person in the eyes for too long. It’s also important to keep in mind that neurodivergent individuals may have a hard time with eye contact due to overstimulation.
To practice your eye-contact skills, try to make it a goal to maintain eye contact for 50 percent of the time while speaking and 70 percent of the time while listening. Over time, this should help you to feel more comfortable using eye contact during conversations. And remember that it’s okay to break eye contact if you need to think or formulate your next response — just make sure not to look at anything other than their eyes!