New In The Office? How To Build A Positive Rapport With Your Co-workers
GUEST POST BY MICHELLE ARIOS
We don’t go to work to make friends, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be friendly while we’re there. Developing a positive rapport with your co-workers is crucial for success in the workplace. If you don’t know one another and you don’t have an established and effective line of communication, you won’t be able to collaborate effectively. Teamwork is important – mountains cannot be moved without it.
If you’re new to the office, get off on the right foot. Make a great first impression with your co-workers and focus on building that rapport from the get-go.
Consider How You Present Yourself
If you’re nervous or not feeling very confident, other people will be able to tell. It may make you seem unapproachable. Your new co-workers might get the impression that you are a loner, or even worse, they may misunderstand your trepidation as a sign of not wanting to talk to them. As cliché as this might sound, you need to build a bit of confidence, believe in yourself, trust yourself, and feel good about who you are.
For the first few weeks, wear comfortable outfits that make you look and feel your best. You’ll project more confidence and be a little more outgoing if you’re cozy and secure. Be warm, introduce yourself, and shake hands with everyone – even people you don’t think you’ll ever be working with. Exuding positive energy and putting yourself out there will make you more approachable, and people in your new office will know that you’re interested in becoming a part of the company’s culture.
Properly Introduce Yourself
If your boss plans on introducing you at a meeting, prepare something to say. You don’t have to give everyone your entire life story. A couple of sentences about your work history, a few more about your hobbies, and maybe a little bit about your family and pets should suffice. You don’t need to talk for more than one minute. Just bring up enough interesting things about you to make you less than a stranger to your co-workers. Some of them might have a natural inclination to be shy.
Check Out The Break Room
The break room will give you a great idea of the social culture in your new office. Check out the bulletin board to see what people have posted. Are there charitable events for causes near and dear to your colleagues? Are there routines and traditions that everyone participates in? Pick a few that work for you. You might have something in common with your new co-workers.
Look for a common goal. These days, health and fitness have become priorities in many companies. If everyone seems to have a desire for healthy snacks at work, you can introduce yourself to the masses with a big batch of your famous roasted curried chickpeas or homemade almond butter protein bars. Meet people where they stand – it’s a natural conversation starter that leaves an excellent first impression.
Be Willing To Pay Your Dues
Things are always different for the newbie, whether or not that’s fair. Why not leverage that to get to know a little bit more about everyone. If you take the coffee order and run down to pick it up, you’ll have a reason to talk to everyone. Michael likes his chai tea latte with a shot of espresso – he might recommend that you try one. Seth is no-nonsense – he wants a black cold brew. Maybe that’s also your coffee preference, and you’ve had your first small bonding moment with a new co-worker. Offering a helping hand with mundane tasks gives you the opportunity to make small talk with everyone around you.
Contribute Productively To The Conversation
Inserting yourself into other people’s conversations is not likely to make you friends anywhere. On the other hand, becoming a part of a conversation that fills the entire room is a great idea. If everyone is talking and bouncing ideas around, listen actively and carefully, and then contribute. It helps to contribute only when you agree or have a positive affirmation. Think of how often a positive word from a stranger or a new friend turned your day around.
If people’s first impression of you is that you’re argumentative or vastly different from them, this might dampen the “getting to know you” phase of the relationship. There will come a time for respectful disagreements and sharing opposing points of view, and the best time for these conversations is after you’ve already established a good rapport. The other person will understand it isn’t a personal attack when they have a better sense of your character.
Participate Actively In Team Building Activities
It can be a little awkward to throw yourself face-first into team building activities when it seems as though everyone else in the office already knows each other, but you’ll only continue to be regarded as an outsider if you act like one. Give the team building activities your all, even if you feel a little awkward as an enthusiastic participant. Everyone is having a good time and bonding, and there couldn’t be a more perfect opportunity for you to become an important part of that group.
Go To Those Functions Outside Of Work
Every office has a bowling league, a book club, a hiking group, a karaoke night, or some other niche hobby activity that the employees like to do together outside of work. Go, at least a few times. It’s easier to get to know people in a low-pressure environment where the only expectation is that everyone is having an enjoyable time. If there’s too much stress in the workplace for you to get to know your co-workers, all you have to do is step out with them.
Building a positive rapport with your co-workers may take some time, but that’s to be expected. You may be unable to become a part of the team overnight, but small strides and persistence will certainly get you closer.
AUTHOR BIO: MICHELLE ARIOS
Michelle Arios is an avid human resources and careers blogger from Australia, currently supporting 1300 Rubbish - a company that helps keep our planet just a bit greener. Michelle might often be found online, participating in online discussions with employees and employers alike.
Are there any ice-breakers that have worked well for you when starting a new job?