Having good interpersonal skills and building relationships at the workplace can lead to recognition, success and career satisfaction. No matter what your position is or how good you are at your work, if you can’t network and build relationships, you may not be able to accomplish your work goals. This article talks about ways in which you can build on your interpersonal skills. These techniques and skills are written keeping in mind people across the sociability spectrum. There is no one type of people who these skills pertain to. If you face struggle with networking and want to work on it give these techniques a run through and identify what you want to start implementing.
- Remind yourself why. Being able to walk up to a stranger/colleague and have a meaningful conversation isn’t always easy. Reminding yourself about why you want to have a conversation and what the benefits of it would be, might help you to feel courageous and take a step forward.
- Pick who you want to talk with. You have probably spent time observing your colleagues. Look at the ones you were interested in. It could be someone who you see as a role-model, mentor, energy giver, good at work, etc. Taking baby steps and talking to one person at a time might help.
- Pick what topic you want to talk about. Decide on how you would want to approach a person, greet them and pick topics that you would want to talk about. Preparing for conversations can help and add to you feeling more confident about the interaction.
- Listen and ask questions. A good listener actively pays attention to the conversation and responds appropriately with questions. Listening might let the speaker know that you are interested and care. Asking questions can build trust by opening lines of safe communication. Keep questions limited, positive and focused.
- Group conversations. Often times it is easier to join conversations that are already ongoing. Contributing relevant information to group conversations may motivate you to talk to some of the group members the next day as well. Being truthful, polite and modest can go a long way.
- Be assertive. There may be times that people disagree with you or say things that you don’t agree with. In these situations, being assertive may help. Use “I” statements like “I understand why you think that however I also think that we could do it this way”.
- Observe qualities that you like in others. Look at ways in which you could work on those qualities yourself and try to implement them in situations that you think are apt. For instance, if you notice a colleague taking feedback well, and being able to manage a tense situation at work. Look at implementing those management skills in situations that you think is necessary.
- Be aware of your non-verbal behaviour. It is one of the most important aspects at a workplace. Being mindful about the way you stand while talking to someone, hygiene, certain mannerisms as well as maintaining eye-contact are things that are noticed by others. So using gestures, varying your vocal pitch, tone and volume, actively listening by nodding, and not interrupting might be beneficial.
- Manage boundaries. Managing boundaries can help individuals understand their limits and not cross the line towards being unprofessional.
- Stay in touch. Following up with a person and making a consistent effort to have conversation or even greeting the person on a daily basis is an act that can contribute to good networking.
These are a few pointers for you to look through and try to implement. Remember that not all interactions will turn out the way that you expect it to. But at least now you know that you can take a step forward and do what you can, that is in your control, in order to build relationships.
- Riggio , R.E. (2014, March 18). Psychology Today: Health, Help, Happiness + Find a Therapist. Networking 101: How to Social Network Effectively | Psychology Today. Retrieved April 19, 2018, from http://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/cutting-edge-leadership/201403/networking-101-how-social-network-effectively
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