Taking Relationships in the Workplace from Business to Social

Recently, a myGreenlight member shared that she finds it difficult to make introductions in the work place purely for social reasons. Her question, “Should social introductions be different from business related introductions?”, prompted the perfect opportunity to discuss how intimacy allows you to transition a relationship from strictly business to one with deeper meaning.

Social introductions in the workplace are no different than professional introductions in structure. The difference is the reason behind making the connection. Business introductions typically revolve around each person’s professional role and the benefits or dependencies that exist between them. Social introductions in the workplace center around passion points, the things that truly motivate and make people tick.

Getting to passion points requires taking the time to get to know someone beyond their work function or benefit to you in the workplace. This is where initiating a “long slow coffee, lunch or dinner” comes into play in your relationship building efforts. Carving out a moment to relax with a colleague sets the stage for you to initiate more intimate conversation centered around hobbies, talents, interests, values, and purpose driven goals. The objective is to discover how they spend their non-working hours so that you can connect them to like-minded people who enjoy the same things they do or share their aspirations in life.

Remembering someone’s function or role is expected between co-workers. When you remember someone’s personal interests it simply sets you apart from the majority of the relationships that person encounters daily. It shows you are listening and that you care about them and that in itself makes you more memorable than the next person. When you are able to connect someone to a person or resource that will further the expression and/or pursuit of their passions it evolves the relationship and cements a special bond.

To illustrate an example, I have a colleague and friend who is a psychologist and professional coach. After several months of getting to know each other he asked me to sit with a colleague of his who’s also a coach. Over time, he created an opportunity to introduce us in an environment where we shared a common interest giving us an opportunity to connect. Though I had inquired, he never seriously solicited me to patronize his service, yet he was always open to give me his time without asking for compensation. Initially, I found this strange and wondered why he wasn’t pushing for me to become a client. However, after one session with the person he recommended I realized that during the time we’d been getting to know each other, he connected the things I was truly passionate about to the fact that his colleague would be better able to facilitate my needs and engage me in reaching my goals.

This act of generosity not only increased my trust in him as a friend, but also as a professional and it clearly exposed his level of care for my well-being personally and professionally. That level of interest in my life has forever secured him a position in my close network of people that will receive my attention and energy without question.

The people you connect to each other will always remember you fondly as the reason they are connected. When you secure that type of memorable position in someone’s mental and emotional space, you create allies for life.

Kibibi Springs is myGreenlight’s Community Director.

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