Human Resources News & Insights

5 simple ways to make your work interactions more meaningful

On a typical work day, co-workers have many interactions with each other, but a lot of these conversations are insincere and don’t go past pleasantries. 

These surface-level interactions are all missed opportunities to build stronger connections with your colleagues, and TLNT contributor Dianna Booher says it’s pretty easy to change this.

Here are five simple ways to start having more meaningful interactions with your employees.

1. Personalized greetings

Everyone’s had this clichéd exchange:

“Hi, how are you?”

“Fine. And you?”

“Good, thanks.”

While a polite interaction, this conversation is robotic and not memorable. How often are we actually fine when we tell people we are? Do we actually care to hear the response to “How are you?”

Slightly switching up this greeting can do wonders. Adding the person’s name lets them know you are acknowledging them as an individual. Asking something simple, like how their commute was, opens up the conversation past “Good, thanks.”

2. Helpful responses

Many times, when a worker expresses concern about an issue, they’ll get a response like, “Don’t worry, I’m sure you’ll figure it out.”

While seemingly a comment that instills confidence, its generic nature makes it sound more like, “I don’t have time to focus on your situation.”

You may not be able to solve their issue, but giving a specific response shows you truly were listening. For example, when a colleague tells you about their problem, maybe suggest they talk to an employee who went through a similar situation.

3. Sincere praise

A well-deserved compliment will always go farther than vague flattery, which is often excessive and to the benefit of the one who gives it. Recognizing something an employee did that was particularly well done will make them feel much more appreciated.

4. Skip the fake smiles

Much like the response “Fine, thanks,” smiles at work aren’t always genuine. For example, Booher says that once she disagreed with her group at a meeting, but instead of speaking up, she put on a fake smile. Afterwards, someone approached her, saying they could tell from her smile that she wasn’t happy with how the meeting went.

Others can notice when smiles are insincere. Expressing how you really feel will come across better than fake pleasantness.

5. Offer real help

“Let me know if I can do anything to help.”

This common offering can come across as, “I’ve given no thought to how I might help, but I want to look benevolent, so I’m going through the motion.”

If you truly want to offer help, let them know specifically what you’re able to do, or offer a few suggestions.

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