What did you think of the Eagles pre-season game? What did you bring for lunch today? Do you prefer Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts? If you think I’m getting personal, you may be right. It also might be the secret to success.

Last week we held a live webinar on the value of asking questions. During that webinar, we talked about asking personal questions at work, and you told me that you do have these types of personal conversations. However, it seems the majority of you (75%) only do so about once a week. You might want to pick it up. Research shows that employees who messaged their co-workers about idle topics like coffee and sports were more likely to keep their jobs during layoffs.   It seems that the social employees may be thought to be influencers, and they bring intangible value to their companies. It may also just be that the old maxim is true–we want to work with people we like and trust. And we may like and trust people who like coffee and sports, and talk to us about it.

If you want to become this type of influencer, there is one really easy way to start. Ask more questions. Curiosity creates connections, and those connections are the building blocks of trust and influence. Those connections also make work more fun. I know that some of you are objecting. “I work remotely, so I can’t have those types of water cooler conversations.”  Your objection is overruled. The study mentioned above involved “idle chatter” in electronic communications. You can ask questions in an email just as easily as you can in person, and connections follow. Use your curiosity to create connections, and then use your connections to create greater success, greater fun, and greater friendships. The closer we get to each other, the closer we get to our goals.

NOW I WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU! How often do you get into personal conversations at work? Do you wish it happened more, or do you find it distracting? I’d love to know more about what you think!

8 thoughts on “Let’s Get Personal

  1. I used to think that I should keep personal information from my clients but then all I had were superficial relationships where there was no bond. I still don’t share everything but we talk about health issues, travel and our pets. This exchange creates a bond that strengthens our working arrangements. Asking questions and really listening is key to this process.

    1. We all just crave connections. I know the more I learn about you, the more I like you! I believe it also helps people work together more compassionately. We know each other, so we have more patience and understanding.

  2. This is quite distracting for me, I would like to get more personal and when I try I ended up feeling uncomfortable with. So how could you engage someone who has a different culture or who may mininterpret your intractions wth them?

    1. The cultural differences do make things harder. You may want to start small, with little question that don’t probe. Build up to the larger questions, and be open about your hesitation. Vulnerability also creates connections. If you open up about your uncertainty, maybe they will too!

  3. I’ve always thrown in small talk on the job and in life even just waiting in line in the bank or grocery store. It’s nice to chat to someone you don’t know, renews our faith that we are a friendly and a kind people and it’s nice to chat it up a moment or two and walk away wishing each other a nice day. I almost always stop to chat with a cop, thank them for their service and tell them to stay safe. On occasion I talk to walls and telephone poles too! 😜

    1. I can’t speak for telephone poles, but people crave connection. We want to belong to each other, and personal questions help us get there. So you’re doing those people a favor. Keep asking!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.