Conversation, especially in the workplace can be tricky to navigate. Great conversation can lead you away from a goal or towards it. There is only so much ‘how was your weekend?’ one workplace can take. If you are looking to cultivate positive and meaningful relationships with your colleagues, try these conversation starters to get your colleagues on your side.
How is your morning so far?
If there is one thing that can be frustrating, it is when people just come at you with demands, requests for meetings or checking on how a project is going without actually asking how you are first. Ease your way in by showing an interest in how their day is actually going. Avoid giving advice though if it isn’t going too well.
What have you got going on this week?
They say a problem shared is a problem halved. Asking a colleague what’s on their plate that week can be a relief, when there is a lot going on – especially in a fast-paced environment. When you can, assist but try and realise when it is appropriate to do so. Your boss might just laugh you out of the room if you ask to help at NYFW come fall.
I worked on a project similar to this one, let me know if you need a hand.
There is an effective way to offer a hand, without overstepping the mark or straying into someone else’s territory. Rather than imposing yourself on a colleague, leave an offer of your help open to them. Stand by your word though, you can’t suddenly turn it down if you suddenly become busier.
How are your family doing?
It is easy to forget that people have an existence outside of work however, usually someone’s main focus is their family. People enjoy talking about their loved ones, so listen intently and remember something for your next conversation. Top tip: have a little black book for your contacts and jot down their birthday and partners’ name.
Did you manage to sort that out?
Maybe your colleague is in search of a new car, or is learning to use a new piece of software. Whatever it is they need a hand with, having a follow-up conversation a few days later shows that you really did care at the time.
How was your meeting?
Whether it is an appraisal, a chat with a new client or a major presentation, meetings take a lot out of people. They need preparation and can often leave you feeling like you need a rest. Asking how someone’s meeting went can either help them to dissect what was a tough meeting or allow them to celebrate a positive one.
I saw you’d been to that new place in town, what’s it like?
This is a great one because people love to be asked their opinion; we’re all critics at heart. Maybe end the conversation with something along the lines of “Great – we should head there some time”.
I’ve sent you something that you may find useful
Teamwork is about doing your best, yes – but it is also about helping others to be their best. Found an article that a colleague may find useful? Send it over. Spotted a trend that the team should get onto quickly? Show it to them.
We missed you while you were away – how was your holiday?
It’s always good to know that you’ve been missed, and who doesn’t love an opportunity to show off their holidays snaps? Don’t admit to your cheeky Instagram stalk though.
Author: Melissa Reynolds Lawrence
Melissa Reynolds-Lawrence is a freelance digital marketer and home accessories boutique owner from the West Midlands. Outside of work, she loves interior design and collecting 80’s vinyl records. She loves to escape the world with a soy vanilla latte and good book to get lost in.