Sunday, May 4, 2008

Making friends at work

The goal of a job is never to make friends, but meeting new people at work is an added bonus. It is important to know the people you work with so that you can anticipate their work styles. This will help you whenever you need to work directly with that person. Also, making friends with those you work around directly benefits you in two ways: it increases your networks and gives you an opportunity to learn from a different work style.

One of the easiest ways to make a friend at work is to start saying hello in the morning. Just by being friendly, you can really make an impact on someone. (Remember people don’t want to be impressed; they just want to know your nice and honest.) You can always ask the typically questions. How was your evening? Did you enjoy the weekend? But for those that are looking beyond these simple topics of conversation, there are two effective methods.

Try to round people up for a quick coffee run. If you invite a group of people to go get coffee, you appear as friendly and outgoing. Plus, inviting a small group of coworkers is an effective way to get to know a few people at once. It also takes of the pressure on the one-to-one conversations.

Put something interesting on your desk. This is such an effective technique for meeting people at work. One coworker of mine has a small gumball dispenser on his desk. People are always popping in to take a gumball and chat for a few minutes. I just started a “Word of the Day” on my whiteboard. People stop by to ask me about the word and chat for a few minutes. Having these small gestures can make a big difference and really help people to engage in conversation with you.

Making friends at work is actually really simple. You just need to open yourself up to people. Too often we think that to make a friend or meet someone we need to impress him or her. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Don’t brag to others because it’ll just turn them away from you. Instead, be nice and talk about something you think they would be interested in.

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