When I was younger, I struggled to meet people and make connections. I was awkward, didn’t know what to say or how to keep a conversation going. I’m still not a natural networker, but I’ve learned how to make it easier – questions. Good questions.
I now have a stock list of questions and it never ceases to amaze me how much information people are happy to reveal. Or how happy some people are to talk about themselves!
Being able to connect with people, build rapport and connections is vital at work, to meet immediate needs as well as for long-term success. With connections you gain knowledge and you receive support.
Here are some of my staples for making connections at work:
- How long have you been interested in that (or worked in that area)?
- How do you stay motivated and focused?
- Do you think passion is more important than ability?
- Which part of your experience has been most valuable to you?
- What’s next for you in your work?
- What’s the best piece of career (or life) advice you’ve ever received?
- What advice would you give someone at the start of their career?
- What’s your view on….?
- Did you read/see xxx ? Did you enjoy it?
If you don’t feel comfortable, practise with a friend or in front of the mirror. Pretend to be more confident than you are and then go and try it.
It might take a few goes for you not to feel awkward but you’ll feel more confident after your first good conversation.
Connecting with people can only make you stronger so, if you’d like help practising and building your confidence, why not book a session of Career Therapy and let me help you take the pain out of it?