Building new relationships at work can be quite a task. Finding a common ground, especially with colleagues from different backgrounds, departments, or industries, really forces you to dig deep to establish a true connection. So how do you go about finding ways to click with your colleagues? Whether we realize it or not, most times people love to talk about themselves or what they know best, and that’s okay! You can use that to your advantage when creating and growing your personal network.
From my own experience, here are a few things I’ve discovered when building our network of marketing champions at TÜV SÜD:
- Listen more than you speak. As a marketer, being able to give a voice and platform to the talent in our organization is very fulfilling, and at the same time, I find that it helps build up confidence in our experts to showcase their depth of knowledge. Win-win, right?
Often, people are very enthusiastic about teaching others what they know best – this is where being a good listener comes into play! When interviewing subject-matter-experts (SMEs) for marketing efforts, it is best practice to prep your set of questions and have a conversation guide handy to be respectful of your colleague’s time. Regardless of your role, preparation is key. Still, when you listen intently conversations will evolve naturally.
- Demonstrate a desire to learn. The second and more important half of engaging with an SME, or anyone for that matter, is that when people speak they truly want to be heard, which is a huge difference when compared to simply listening idly. Asking probing questions, but not interrupting or detracting from the conversation, is a crucial element to fostering a rapport and building a genuine connection, whilst showing your desire to comprehend the topic at hand.
yourself available. Whilst everyone’s time is valuable (some more
so than others’ admittedly), making yourself available beyond your project
scope is very important. Perhaps your new connection would like your opinion on
a task they’re working on, or they have a question completely outside of your
realm of expertise. These are great signs that your insight is appreciated, and
you’ve positioned yourself as an expert in your own right, even when you may
not have all the answers.
Yes, it can be distracting. Yes, it can be frustrating. And, yes, we never seem to have enough time in a day, but believe me when I say, those few minutes spent reconnecting with your colleagues to address their needs instead of only focusing on your own pay off multi-fold when you’re under the wire and need to reach out for a helping hand. More often than not, those same colleagues will be the ones that come to mind first when you’re in a bind, and more importantly they’ll most likely be there to pull through for you.
So how do these habits help build your relationships? Feeling heard and appreciated are key elements in building rapport with your marketing champions or any colleague in your organization! Demonstrating a genuine interest in learning about what your SMEs are well-versed in only helps you broaden your knowledge. And lastly, keeping an “open-door” policy literally opens up a world of opportunity for further collaboration and teamwork down the road. All of these habits combined create a dynamic that fosters an engaging environment and encourages your colleagues to offer up their time and ideas to help your efforts shine brighter!