We all want to be liked.
It’s safe to say that most people want to be liked at work, too — especially given that we spend an average of 1,353 hours a year on the job in the US.
Forming good relations with your boss and coworkers can also be a huge boon to your career. Those personal connections can help you advance within your organisation, and provide you with a network for later on in your career.
Of course, some people will decry any attempt to achieve office popularity as shallow or a waste of time. And it’s true that your work should always come first — schmoozing will only get you so far, in most fields.
With that in mind, here are some tips on how to make your coworkers like you:
1. Ask questions
“Each person is their own favourite subject and everything you say they will relate their own experience,” personal branding strategist Jane Anderson wrote in a LinkedIn post.
2. Be complimentary, but don’t go overboard
Don’t be stingy with your compliments, but recognise that scarcity tends to increase value.
That means sticking to the occasional sincere positive comment, rather than a constant barrage of flattery.
3. Pay attention to body language
Reading the situation before starting a conversation is key to steering it in the right direction and building rapport. “Watch all the non-verbal cues and body language,” Anderson wrote in her LinkedIn post. “Look for micro expressions and their eye contact.”
For example, if someone is clearly in a hurry, it’s not the time to strike up a leisurely conversation.
4. Be nice
This point’s obvious, but important nonetheless. If you want people to like you, try to be a genuinely pleasant person to be around.
In “Boss Bitch: A Simple 12-Step Plan to Take Charge of Your Career,” Nicole Lapin says that genuinely being nice and looking for the best in people is crucial part of building workplace friendships.
“You don’t have to be passive-aggressively sweet, but find something genuinely awesome that they did and either ask them for help with it or thank them for it,” she says. “Everyone, even the nastiest of them, has good qualities. Find them.”
“People generally love sharing their opinions and teaching you things they are good at,” she adds. “Relish in the time they are relishing in themselves. Then, notice something they did that even in the slightest way helped you or your team. Did they bring cupcakes into a meeting? Say, ‘Hey, thank you for doing that! They were thoughtful and delicious.’ Pay the kindness forward and you’ll get that karma coming back your way.”
5. Do your homework
Stalking your coworkers is definitely a bad idea. Still, it’s probably smart to do some light research — just to figure out what they’re all about. You might even find that you have mutual friends or interests that could make for good ice-breakers. Lapin writes that this trick can even apply to winning over rivals in the workplace.
“The more you break the ice with them, the more these tidbits will help you swim yourself back into good graces,” she says. “And learning more about them will likely soften your heart to seeing them as a person and not just a work foe, which will motivate you to make nice faster and hopefully more genuinely.”
6. Act natural
Don’t go crazy trying to win everyone over. Desperation’s easy to spot, and not a good look on anyone.
Treat your efforts to connect with your colleagues less like a quest for office popularity, and more as an opportunity to expand your network and make new friends. According to Lapin, the best strategy is to bond over shared activities, like coffee dates.
“Chances are you actually work with some pretty cool people,” Lapin says. “I mean, your employer had good taste in hiring you, right? You might know some of your coworkers from meetings or in passing, but do you really know them to a level that they could have your back or vice versa? Getting to have-your-back status at work takes more than just a smile from across the table at a meeting — but not much more. Requesting a coffee ‘date’ or ‘power lunch’ at work can be the beginning of a beautiful corporate friendship.”
Emmie Martin contributed to a previous version of this post.
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