Building better work relationships can raise your visibility—and your salary
To nail that big promotion, you might want to get to know your colleagues better. Studies show that workplace friendships not only can increase job satisfaction and decrease stress, but can also boost productivity and job commitment. “Top employees don’t produce results in a vacuum,” says Marie McIntyre, author of Secrets to Winning at Office Politics. Take these steps to cultivate valuable, authentic relationships—and turn co-workers into co-conspirators.
Move in the Right Circles
Avoid aligning yourself too closely with poor performers. “You want to build your brand and reputation by associating with hard workers,” says Philadelphia executive coach Julie Cohen. Better yet, says McIntyre: Create an “influence map”—a short list of employees within and outside your department who could have a positive impact on your career. Assess which of these relationships need nurturing and target your efforts. Cozying up with a peer in HR, for example, can be very valuable; though he may not have decision-making power, he’ll know when a high-profile job opens.
Take It to The Next Level
Attending the happy hour will help you build camaraderie, but meet with key co-workers one on one to establish deeper connections, says Peggy Klaus, executive coach and author of The Hard Truth About Soft Skills. Start with lunch or coffee. For those you don’t know well, you might say, “I’m interested in how your division works. Do you have 15 minutes to chat over a latte?”
Since misery loves company, commiserating about work can also solidify a relationship. After a tense meeting, you might say, “That was a rough one! Do you have time for a debrief?” The trick is to avoid person-specific critiques and to steer the conversation in a positive direction, says Cohen.
Additionally, since helping others builds their loyalty, offer to cover for your pal when she’s on vacation. And make sure you sing her praises in front of VIPs after a major win (“Did everyone notice how sales took off since Mary’s campaign launched?”).
Leverage the Relationships
By having high performers as pals, you’ll know early about their high-profile projects. Offer to assist when you have relevant expertise so you can join in their successes.
Your friends can also help you nab the title and pay you want: Ask them to role-play negotiation conversations with you, suggests Spencer Harrison, professor at Boston College’s Carroll School of Management. The office stars are likely to know best what the boss values.
Finally, keep in touch when your buddies move on, says Harrison. They might go work for a desirable employer one day, which will give you entrée there too.
Networking Tips for Introverts Coworker
How even shy people can master the art of schmoozing.
It’s hard out there for an introvert—especially when it comes to working a room. For the less outgoing, “attending a networking event can be like diving into a mosh pit,” says Nancy Ancowitz, business communication coach and author of Self-Promotion for Introverts. “It’s downright scary.”
As many as 50% of Americans are introverts, according to Susan Cain, author of the 2012 best-sellerQuiet: The Power of Introverts. While conventional wisdom holds that shy types are at a disadvantage in the business world, there are some lesser-known benefits to being among the more reserved. Research by Wharton management professor Adam Grant, for example, found that introverts are more effective leaders, and a recent Cambridge University study found they’re more adaptable in the workplace than their extroverted colleagues.
But that knowledge doesn’t necessarily help you when you’re hugging the wall at your next conference or cocktail reception. Follow these tips to nail a networking event.
Adjust your mindset.
If just hearing the word “networking” makes you gulp, reframe your approach, says Carol Linden, author of The Job Seekers Guide for Extraverts and Introverts. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by the size of the crowd, focus on your goal, which is to make two or three meaningful connections. Once you’ve done so, give yourself permission to leave. “If you overstay, you’re going to get burnt out, and you’ll be less motivated to go to networking events in the future,” Linden says.
Contact people in advance.
Get a list of the attendees beforehand and determine the people you want to meet. Business communication coach Patrick Donadio recommends introducing yourself via email ahead of the event and explaining why you want to connect. (“I read your book and saw you’re attending the conference. I’d love to get together during the lunch break and learn more about your research.”) For ice breakers, browse their social media feeds to find shared interests, which you can use as talking points in person.
Bring a wingman.
Need a confidence booster? Get a co-worker to join you at the event. “Having a conference buddy can help keep you grounded,” says Pete Mosley, author of The Art of Shouting Quietly: A guide to self promotion for introverts and other quiet souls. Your colleague also may be able to use his or her connections to make an introduction. One note of caution: You can take breaks together to recharge, but avoid clinging too closely to the person or you’ll defeat the purpose of networking.
Go behind the scenes.
Get access to key players by helping to organize or volunteering at the event. Checking in attendees, for example, allows you to meet with your target people when they walk in the door. To score face time with an industry influencer, “be the person who picks up the keynote speaker at the airport,” advises Linden.
Keep the focus on them.
“Networking is about building relationships, not selling yourself,” says Mosley. Read: You don’t need to deliver an elevator pitch touting your achievements. Get the conversation rolling with a casual starter (“That was a great lecture. What did you think of it?”), then let the other person do most of the talking.
“Introverts are natural listeners,” says Wendy Gelberg, job search coach at JVS CareerSolution in Boston and author of The Successful Introvert: How to Enhance Your Job Search and Advance Your Career. Ask open-ended questions: “I see your company launched a new product. Did you work on it?”
Close the conversation by setting a time to meet in the future. (“It was great talking with you. I’d love get together soon for lunch to continue our conversation.”) Don’t forget to exchange business cards, and take short notes on theirs about what you talked about so that you can send a meaningful follow-up email, says Donadio; if the person doesn’t have a card, ask to connect on LinkedIn.
Practice, practice, practice.
As an introvert, it’s not in your nature to love large crowds—and that’s okay. Even if you do all of the above, you’re never going to feel completely comfortable schmoozing at an industry conference. But you can make the process less stressful by attending networking events on a regular basis, Mosley says. You can also flex your communication skills back at the office, Donadio suggests, by, for instance, striking up conversation with new colleagues in the break room.
How to Network With the People You Already See Every Day
Everybody overlooks this key to career advancement.
There’s no shortage of networking advice on how to introduce yourself to a sales prospect, strike up a conversation with an expert at a conference, or stay in touch with a potential job lead. But all of those tips leave you with one big, gaping hole in your interpersonal skills: How to create friendly, social relationships with the people you actually see at work every day.
Yes, you probably have a core crew of co-workers you eat lunch with, and you might even be one of those people with a “work spouse,” but that’s not enough.
You’ll boost your career prospects—both within and beyond your workplace—if you strengthen your connections with your existing colleagues, explains career coach Todd Dewett. “The professionals with the best network breadth and depth win in the long run,” he says.
Here’s how to go from uncomfortable elevator silences to being that person who seems to know everybody in the building.
Just say hello.
“If you’re approaching someone you’ve seen on a regular basis but never spoken with, find an opportunity to introduce yourself,” says Amanda Augustine, a career advice expert at TopResume. Strike up a conversation when you meet on the way to the parking lot or run into them in the break room. And don’t be afraid to point out the obvious. Career experts say something as basic as, “I don’t think we were ever introduced,” or, “I’ve seen you here a million times and I’m sorry—I never caught your name,” is a perfectly fine conversation starter.
Aim for “business casual” formality.
That is, your tone should be somewhere between introducing yourself to a presenter at an industry conference and grabbing coffee with your best office pal, according to Dewett. “It is acceptable to be less formal initially, yet you should be more formal than you would be while interacting with your close colleagues.” Avoid being too familiar at first, especially if it’s someone you’ve never spoken with before. “Be respectful that you don’t know them, even though you’re technically on the same team,” Dewett says.
Stalk them (just a tiny bit).
Even if you’re just aiming to introduce yourself at the vending machine, it’s a good idea to get at least a little bit of background beforehand. “Google their name, look them up in the company directory, and check out their professional social media accounts such as their LinkedIn profile and possibly their Twitter handle,” Augustine suggests. Stay off Facebook or other sites that skew more social than professional; it could be off-putting if you bring up parts of their personal or social life they’ve never mentioned to you.
Seek out people outside your circle.
Workforce diversity is a key issue for companies these days, so you need to be willing to and comfortable with reaching out to people who, on first glance, might not seem to have much in common with you. “We do have a tendency to interact with people who are similar to us in some way,” says Adelphi University president and leadership expert Christine M. Riordan. Make an active effort to engage with people outside your “in-group,” she says, because that will help you overcome any latent biases you might harbor. “Recognize your biases and stereotypes and make sure those don’t hold you back from talking with people who are different from you,” Riordan said.
Raise your profile.
Stumped on how to meet people outside your floor or department, especially if you work for a large employer? “Make connections across organizational chart lines,” Dewett says. Volunteer for committees that draw members from beyond your department and keep an eye out for work projects that will put you in contact with people in other departments or divisions.
Look for mutual acquaintances.
Alternately, if you see someone you do know heading out to get coffee with someone you don’t know, ask if you can join them. “Have a colleague who knows the individual you would like to meet introduce you or invite both of you to lunch,” suggests James Craft, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh’s Katz Graduate School of Business.
Stay away from lightning-rod topics.
Almost all career experts say it’s a bad idea to bring up politics or religion (unless you happen to work in one or the other, and even if that’s the case, tread lightly). And don’t speak negatively about anyone else at work. Not only could you come away with an unwanted reputation as a gossip, you never know who the person you’re talking to is friendly with or where your words could travel.
Don’t forget to shut up and listen.
“Too often, people talk too much, or worry about what they will say next,” Riordan says. If you’re preoccupied with what you’re saying, you’re not going to be able to really listen to what the other person is saying and respond in a manner that lets them know you’re paying attention—crucial for relationship-building. “Good listeners paraphrase what they’ve heard and ask clarifying questions,” Riordan says. “They make eye contact, nod their heads, and are fully engaged in the conversation.”
Original Articles Source :
How Your Coworkers Can Help You Succeed by Daniel Bortz .
7 Networking Tips for Introverts by Daniel Bortz.
How to Network With the People You Already See Every Day by Martha C. White.