Communication and relationships are very important in the business world. Being able to work with others is often vital to getting assigned to high-profile projects, desirable transfers, and potential promotions. Relationship building starts with rapport among co-workers. Rapport is built with open communication, a positive attitude of interest in the other person, and exploration of their interests.
The most important relationship builder is frequent use of people’s names. Learn the name the individuals you work with prefer to be called by. Some people prefer their formal first name and others find this too unfriendly or have seen it as a part of a corrective action and therefore prefer a shorter version of their name. Since most nicknames are reserved for family and seen as unprofessional, you should not use a nickname unless the individual has asked that you do so.
To build on the professional relationship, ask someone about their day. If the person is working on an interesting project they will tell you about it and it can give you material for future work-related conversations without appearing bossy or nosy. If the individual is working on a hard project or behind in their work then they may feel comfortable letting you know this too. This will give you the opportunity to offer help to catch up if you have the time. You may also offer examples of similar problems you had and ways that you overcame obstacles in order to complete difficult projects.
To create a more personal connection, ask a co-worker about their weekend. In a few minutes, they will respond with what they did. Items like watched a sport, participated in a game, or attended a child’s program will give you ideas of what the individual is personally interested in. Then you can build upon this for future conversation to build a friendlier and more open relationship.
To make each other feel part of the same team, go to lunch with individuals or groups during a work day when you or they could use a break from the workspace. As appropriate, invite individuals to your home to eat dinner, watch a game, or see a new movie in which they may be interested.
A few simple questions asked and actively listening to the responses creates an atmosphere of open communication and increases rapport with co-workers. Key to better projects, challenging transfers, or promotions is being able to work with others. Good communication skills and the ability to build relationships will continue to be important in the world of business