25, Aug 2023
Developing Authentic Connections at Work
Building Connections at Work
Building Connections is a powerful way to build trust and a thriving culture. It doesn’t involve forcing your people to “act like a connector.” It is about facilitating the development of connection practices and skills.
Authentic connections help people feel valued and respected. They also increase job satisfaction and can even lead to a promotion or new opportunity.
1. Make eye contact
Eye contact is an important component of nonverbal communication and signals social connection. It is thought to evoke confidence and self-esteem, as well as assertiveness. In contrast, avoiding eye contact can signal shyness or nervousness.
Looking directly into someone’s eyes is a way to show that you care about them and are interested in what they have to say. It is also a powerful tool in romantic relationships and can help you build stronger friendships.
However, too much eye contact can make you seem overbearing or creepy. To avoid this, try looking away at times or shifting your gaze to another person’s eyes. This is called “switching” and can be a natural part of the conversation. It can also keep your listeners engaged and prevent you from being phubbed.
2. Ask open-ended questions
Open-ended questions help you learn more about a person and can lead to more insightful conversations. Closed-ended questions, on the other hand, typically require a yes/no or single sentence answer and may not provide valuable insight into the person’s thought process or how they make decisions.
Avoid using leading questions which can suggest that a person should agree with your point of view, such as “Don’t you think the dress is cute?”
Asking open-ended questions in a virtual environment requires careful planning and creativity to ensure that the answers are concise, thoughtful, and relevant. It also takes practice to know how and when to use them effectively. However, it is well worth the effort. It is one of the most effective ways to build connections in a virtual setting.
3. Be genuine
Authenticity is the secret ingredient when it comes to building genuine connections. Being your true self can seem risky, but it is the best way to build trust and foster open communication. Embrace your quirks, passions, and idiosyncrasies to attract like-minded people who will be more likely to connect with you.
For example, if you’re curious about someone’s career aspirations, you can ask them “where do you see yourself in the future?” Instead of asking them about their weekend activities, you can show genuine interest in them by focusing on them and listening carefully to their responses. This is more effective than showering them with compliments that lack sincerity.
4. Listen carefully
When you are building connections, it is important to listen carefully. This means not interrupting the person speaking or filling in gaps with your own experiences. It also means avoiding voluntary movements such as glancing at your watch or phone, audibly sighing, or doodling in a notebook.
Taking notes during conversations can help you to remember what the speaker has said and check that you have understood their perspective. It can also be helpful to highlight and reinforce their key points by restating what they have said.
People love to talk about themselves, so listening closely can allow you to learn a lot about someone quickly. If they are describing a problem, asking them how you might have helped others with similar challenges can demonstrate that you are actively listening.
5. Be yourself
It’s important to be yourself when building connections. This doesn’t mean sharing your deepest secrets at work, but it does mean being genuine and showing that you’re interested in other people.
Showing interest in others by being authentic and asking questions can help you build connections that will last. Don’t try to make friends with everyone you meet though – this can be overwhelming and isn’t always possible! Focus on making one or two connections that matter and take your time with them.
Being yourself at work can lead to positive relationships that will support you professionally. Developing these connections can help you achieve your career goals and feel more fulfilled in your job. Authenticity is a critical skill for professional development. If you need more support being yourself at work, check out BetterUp’s online courses here.