4 Techniques To Build Long-Lasting Rapport With Your Colleagues - Deepstash
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Making Work Enjoyable With Good Relations

Making Work Enjoyable With Good Relations

You spend a lot of time interacting with your coworkers, but that doesn’t mean you inherently share a tight-knit relationship. In fact, 41% of Americans say their coworkers are just that: coworkers. 

That’s understandable when the bulk of your conversations centre on work. You talk about projects. And timelines. And status updates. And meeting agendas. You’re on a team together to get a job done, after all.

All of that collaboration becomes a whole lot easier (not to mention enjoyable) if you share some rapport with the people you work with.

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Defining Rapport

Defining Rapport

Officially, the word rapport is defined as a friendly, harmonious relationship. Especially: a relationship characterized by agreement, mutual understanding, or empathy that makes communication possible or easy.

Rapport goes further than simply talking about the weather or doing small talk over the water cooler.

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Signs That Your Peer Relationships Are Good

Signs That Your Peer Relationships Are Good

A few telltale signs that you share a good rapport with a colleagues:

  • You don’t always need to provide a ton of context and background information because you’re confident you’re both on the same page.
  • You own your mistakes in front of them because they give you the benefit of the doubt and treat you with sympathy.
  • You don’t get nervous to ask them a question, for further instructions, or for other support.
  • You’re comfortable approaching them about a variety of topics, whether personal or work-related.

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Benefits Of A Good Rapport

Benefits Of A Good Rapport

Tighter bonds and relationships: Science says that we all share a basic human motivation to affiliate with other people, and rapport helps us feel closer to the people we work with.  

Increased happiness and job satisfaction: Those more tight-knit and comfortable relationships at work do more than combat loneliness and isolation—they actually boost our happiness and our overall engagement levels.

Improved collaboration: When you build that solid foundation and mutual understanding with the people you work with, you’re able to work together more effectively.

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4 Strategies: Be A Decent Human Being

4 Strategies: Be A Decent Human Being

In all honesty, almost everything you need to know about building rapport and being a good colleague you likely learned in kindergarten with this golden rule: treat others the way you want to be treated.

It sounds basic, but it’s important. You can bring in donuts or make an effort to ask someone about their kids—but that can only do so much. It won’t make up for the fact that you continuously shirk responsibilities or miss deadlines, for example. 

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Action To Take: Becoming A Decent Human Being

Action To Take: Becoming A Decent Human Being

  • Practice active listening to ensure you actually understand what’s being communicated before taking action.
  • Own your responsibilities, meet your deadlines, and follow through on promises you make to your colleagues.
  • Offer to step in and help someone when they’re overwhelmed or struggling with a project or task. 
  • Keep your microphone on mute when you’re not speaking in meetings so you avoid interrupting or distracting your fellow attendees.

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Genuinely Check-In

Genuinely Check-In

Ask yourself this: Are you asking them out of a sense of obligation and politeness? Or are you asking because you’re genuinely curious about how they’re doing? There’s a big difference—and most of us can usually sense which category someone falls into.

This tactic for building rapport is about going beyond the general niceties (you know, the ones you hope to get through as fast as possible before moving into what you really want to talk about) to authentically touch base about how someone is feeling.

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Action To Take: Checking In With Colleagues

Action To Take: Checking In With Colleagues

  • Invite a colleague to grab a quick lunch or coffee so you have some dedicated time to connect.
  • When you know somebody has a stressful day or week, stop by their desk with a treat or even a few encouraging words to let them know you’re rooting for them. 
  • Reserve some time at the start of video chats or meetings to connect on a more personal level.
  • Send a quick email or instant message to check in about a specific topic and let someone know you’re thinking of them.
  • Share a resource that you think could help someone on your team.

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Prioritize Praise And Recognition

Prioritize Praise And Recognition

Recognition at work is so often talked about from the top-down—as if it always has to come from senior leadership or a manager. 

People want to know when they’re doing well, and hearing that (especially unprompted) from their own team members can carry a lot of meaning. 

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Action To Take: Praise And Recognition

Action To Take: Praise And Recognition

  • Stop by their desk with a small treat to celebrate a recent win or accomplishment.
  • Offer a genuine compliment about a job well done, whether that’s one-on-one or in a team meeting.
  • Write a quick “thank you” note or email to express your gratitude for their stepping in to help you on a recent task or project. 
  •  Send a personalized email or message to offer a compliment or a token of appreciation.
  • Start a Slack channel specifically designated for peer-to-peer praise and celebrating big and small wins.
  • Come up with a fun virtual tradition to recognize achievements.

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Go Beyond “Work Mode”

Go Beyond “Work Mode”

How much do you really know about your coworkers? You might know little quirks like that Arial is their preferred font or that they can’t stand when someone doesn’t clear the cooking time from the break room microwave.

But, much like you, they have entire lives—families, hobbies, experiences, goals, and other priorities—outside of working hours. 

For those who are, expressing an active interest in those topics can help you establish and maintain an even deeper rapport.

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Action To Take: Beyond Work Mode

  • Begin meetings with a funny or lighthearted icebreaker to get everybody comfortable and learn more about each other in the process.
  • Make an effort to actually follow up on the personal information that people openly share, whether they shared it with the whole team or you directly.
  • Start designated Slack channels for specific interest groups, such as working parents who want to share tips.
  • Create a collaborative playlist that you and your colleagues can all contribute to.
  • Find virtual-friendly opportunities to connect, such as inviting a coworker to have lunch together over video chat.

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The Bottom Line

Rapport isn’t about engaging in trivial small talk with someone once or twice—that might make for an acquaintance, but not necessarily a colleague with whom you share mutual trust and understanding. 

Real rapport is about putting in the elbow grease to genuinely connect with the people you work with. Do that and you’ll have a tighter bond, a comfortable dynamic, and a way easier time getting great work done together. 

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CURATED BY

holdenp

Spending a large amount of time with someone literally causes you to pick up their habits. Choose your friends wisely.

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