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How to Become More of A People Person at Work

How to Become More of A People Person at Work

Interpersonal skills are critical in any workplace environment, and effective communication is important both on the personal and corporate levels. However, if you’re not naturally an outgoing people person, building relationships with colleagues can be difficult. Simply going into the break room to heat up your lunch can stress you out.

Luckily, as an article in Fast Company pointed out, there’s no such thing as a pure introvert or pure extrovert. We all have the ability to adapt to the situation and learn the communication skills we need to succeed. And while it can be scary to step outside of your comfort zone, the relationships you have with your co-workers can improve your productivity and satisfaction in your current job, as well as become an important part of your professional network for the future.

If interpersonal skills are not your forte, check these 5 tips to strengthen them at the office.

1. Work for an organization that you believe in and are confident about.

One of the hardest parts about interacting with people is finding common ground that makes it easier for you to connect. If you work for a company that you truly believe in, that’s a great starting point from which to build a relationship with co-workers. Knowing that you share an interest in the work you’re doing with those around you will make it easier to communicate with them.

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Most people automatically become more open and talkative when they’re discussing something they’re passionate about, and that enthusiasm is often contagious. Not only is it personally rewarding to share what you love, but this will also make you seem like more of a positive, upbeat individual. And your co-workers will enjoy your company more because of that.

If you feel your work isn’t something you’d feel excited telling someone else about, consider altering your career path. Useful tools like career exploration apps can help you figure out whether or not you’re in the right field, as well as learn about all the options available to you.

2. Keep your home and work lives separate.

There are few things more awkward or depressing than when a co-worker insists on bringing their home troubles into the office. There’s a thin line between telling your work friends about what you did over the weekend and the laundry list of things that are stressing you out.

Don’t make those around you uncomfortable by oversharing your personal life at work. While those types of conversations might feel cathartic to you, they can be distracting for everyone else. Additionally, they may cause others to avoid interacting with you out of fear of awkward situations. Leaving your home life behind when you go to the office will help you focus on work and be a more approachable colleague.

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3. Have balanced conversations.

There’s nothing worse than being cornered by a co-worker and having them go on and on about their idea without leaving you room to get a word in edgewise. Don’t be that person. Remember, a conversation is a two-way street. Communication isn’t just about talking; it’s also about listening.

Whether you’re interacting with a co-worker one-on-one or in a group, do your part to ensure everyone’s ideas are being heard. Ask questions and don’t be afraid to bring others into the conversation by saying “I’d like to hear what you have to say about this,” in order to get quieter people involved. This will help improve productivity and efficiency when brainstorming.

Also remember that this is important for more casual conversations as well. Nobody likes a know-it-all. Even if you have seen every episode of Game of Thrones, read all the books, and investigated every fan theory, other people deserve to speak up about the topic. Take a step back every now and again, and let others talk about their interests or opinions.

4. Set socializing goals for yourself.

For people who aren’t naturally outgoing, it can seem daunting to put yourself out there. However, if this a professional goal of yours, you need to make it a priority to mingle with your co-workers on a regular basis.

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Start small. Go to the break room twice a week for five minutes and strike up a conversation with whoever is there. Ask them about a project they’re working on or take the chance to thank them for something they helped you out on earlier in the week. You’re just trying to break the ice, so don’t stress out if you run out of things to talk about quickly. The key is baby steps.

From there, build up to weekly happy hours or team lunches to improve your social skills. Since these are longer events, it’ll require more interaction. However, because there will be multiple people there, you can make the rounds without putting too much pressure on yourself to talk with one person for an extended period of time.

5. Be mindful of your tone and body language.

The messages we send out to others aren’t purely defined by our words. Your tone and body language can also speak volumes. A variety of research reported on in Forbes found that everything from a smile to better posture can help you develop better relationships in the workplace.

Pay attention to co-workers who you view as confident and likeable. Do they stand up straight? How well do they maintain eye contact? Do they use certain words or tones that make them particularly effective communicators? Try to incorporate those things into your body language. Don’t stand or say things that seem unnatural to you, but practice in front of a mirror so you can improve your stance, movement, and tone in a way that’s natural to you.

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Your co-workers can play an important part in your professional success. They can be there to help you when you’re facing a problem or inspire you to work harder. But in order to develop those relationships, you have to focus on improving your interpersonal skills.

What are some other ways to become more of a people person? Share in the comments below!

Featured photo credit: unsplash.com via pexels.com

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Last Updated on August 20, 2019

How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work

How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work

Career advancement is an enticement that today’s companies use to lure job candidates. But to truly uncover growth opportunities within a company, it’s up to you to take the initiative to move up.

You can’t rely on recruiter promises that your company will largely hire from within. Even assurances you heard from your direct supervisor during the interviewing process may not pan out. But if you begin a job knowing that you’re ultimately responsible for getting yourself noticed, you will be starting one step ahead.

Accomplished entrepreneur and LinkedIn Co-Founder Reid Hoffman said,

“If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward.”

It’s important to recognize that taking charge of your own career advancement, and then mapping out the steps you need to succeed, is key to moving forward on your trajectory.

Make a Point of Positioning Yourself as a Rising Star

As an employee looking for growth opportunities within your current company, you have many avenues to position yourself as a rising star.

As an insider, you’re able to glean insights on company strategies and apply your expertise where it’s most needed. Scout out any skills gaps, then make a point to acquire and apply them. And, when you have creative ideas to offer, make it your mission to gain the ear of those in the organization who can put your ideas to the test.

Valiant shows of commitment and enterprise make managers perk up and take notice, keeping you ahead of both internal and external competitors.

Employ these other useful tips to let your rising star qualities shine:

1. Promote Your Successes to Your Higher-Ups

When your boss casually asks how you’re doing, use this valuable moment to position yourself as indispensable: “I’m floating on clouds because three clients have already commented on how well they like my redesign of the company website.”

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Tell your supervisors about any and all successes. Securing a new contract or signing a new customer should be a cause for celebration. Be sure to let your bosses know.

2. Cultivate Excellent Listening Skills

Listen well, and ask great questions. Realize that people love to talk about themselves.

But if you’re a superb listener, others will confide in you, and you’ll learn from what they share. You may even find out something valuable about your own prospects in the company.

If others view you as even-minded and thoughtful, they’ll respect your ideas and, in turn, listen to what you have to say.

Check out these important listening skills: 13 Powerful Listening Skills to Improve Your Life at Work and at Home

3. Go to All Office Networking Events

Never skip the office Christmas party, your coworker’s retirement party, or any office birthday parties, wedding showers, or congratulatory parties for colleagues.

If others see you as a team player, it will help you rise in your company. These on-site parties will also help you mingle with co-workers whom you might not ordinarily have the chance to see. For special points, help organize one or two of these get-togethers.

Take the Extra Step to Show Your Value to the Company

Managers and HR staff know that it can be less risky – and a lot less costly — to promote from within. As internal staff, you likely have a good grasp of the authority structure and talent pool in the company, and know how to best navigate these networks in achieving both the company’s goals and your own.

The late Nobel-Prize winning economist, Gary Becker, coined the term “firm-specific,” which describes the unique skills required to excel in an individual organization. You, as a current employee, have likely tapped into these specific skills, while external hires may take a year or more to master their nuances.

Know that your experience within the company already provides value, then find ways to add even more value, using these tips:

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4. Show Initiative

Commit yourself to whatever task you’re given, and make a point of going above and beyond.

Position yourself so that you’re ready to take on any growth opportunities that present themselves. If you believe you have skills that have gone untapped, find a manager who will give you a chance to prove your worth.

Accept any stretch assignment that showcases your readiness for advancement. Stay late, and arrive early. Half of getting the best assignments is sticking around long enough to receive them.

5. Set Yourself Apart by Staying up on Everything There Is to Know About Your Company and Its Competitors

Subscribe to and read the online trade journals. Become an active member in your industry’s network of professionals. Go to industry conferences, and learn your competitors’ strategies.

Be the on-the-ground eyes and ears for your organization to stay on top of industry trends.

6. Go to Every Company Meeting Prepared and Ready to Learn

A lot of workers feel meetings are an utter waste of time. They’re not, though, because they provide face-time with higher-ups and those in a position to give you the growth opportunities you need.

Go with the intention of absorbing information and using it to your advantage — including the goals and work styles of your superiors. Respect the agenda, listen more than you speak, and never beleaguer a point.

Accelerate Your Career Growth Opportunities

A recent study found that the five predictors of employees with executive potential were: the right motivation, curiosity, insight, engagement, and determination. These qualities help you stand out, but it’s also important to establish a track record of success and to not appear to be over-reaching in your drive to move up in your company.

Try to see yourself from your boss’s position and evaluate your promote-ability.

Do you display a passion and commitment toward meeting the collective goals of the company? Do you have a motivating influence with team members and show insight and excellence in all your work?

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These qualities will place you front and center when growth opportunities arise.

Use these strategic tips to escalate your opportunities for growth:

7. Find a Mentor

With mentorship programs fast disappearing, this isn’t always easy. But you need to look for someone in the company who has been promoted several times and who also cares about your progress.

Maybe it’s the person who recommended you for the job. Or maybe it’s your direct supervisor. It could even be someone across the hall or in a completely different department.

Talk to her or him about growth opportunities within your company. Maybe she or he can recommend you for a promotion.

Not sure how to find the right mentor? Here’s How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed.

8. Map out Your Own Growth Opportunity Chart

After you’ve worked at the company for a few months, work out a realistic growth chart for your own development. This should be a reasonable, practical chart — not a pie-in-the-sky wish list of demands.

What’s reasonable? Do you think being promoted within two years is reasonable? What about raises? Try to inform your own growth chart with what you’ve heard about other workers’ raises and promotions.

Once you’ve rigorously charted a realistic path for your personal development within the company, try to talk to your mentor about it.

Keep refining your chart until it seems to work with your skills and proven talents. Then, arrange a time to discuss it with your boss.

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You may want to time the discussion around the time of your performance review. Then your boss can weigh in with what he feels is reasonable, too.

9. Set Your Professional Bar High

Research shows that more than two-thirds of workers are just putting in their time. But through your active engagement in the organization and commitment to giving your best, you can provide the contrast against others giving lackluster performances.

Cultivate the hard skills that keep you on the cutting edge of your profession, while also refining your soft skills. These are the attributes that make you better at embracing diverse perspectives, engendering trust, and harnessing the power of synergy.

Even if you have an unquestionably left-brain career — a financial analyst or biotechnical engineer, for example — you’re always better off when you can form kind, courteous, quality relationships with colleagues.

Let integrity be the cornerstone of all your interactions with clients and co-workers.

The Bottom Line

Growth opportunities are available for those willing to purposely and adeptly manage their own professional growth. As the old adage says,

“Half of life is showing up.”

The other half is sticking around so that when your boss is looking for someone to take on a more significant role, you are among the first who come to mind.

Remember, your career is your business!

More About Continuous Growth

Featured photo credit: Zach Lucero via unsplash.com

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