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The importance of stopping by to say "Hi"

Scott Theus Community Leader Jan 15, 2020

This may seem a bit weird to some people, but I have a New Year's resolution to have at least one non-project related conversation with someone at work every day. Aside from having to "practice" being extroverted and making myself lift my head up from my computer, take off the earbuds, and get out of my cubicle every day, I've found that outside of specific work related topics I rarely just chat with my coworkers. Worse, I've noticed that my coworkers (and my managers) rarely just stop by to check in to see how I am doing. 

Now, there is nothing wrong with this, but it can lead to feelings of exclusion, and that is not a good feeling. My wife, for instance, sited feeling excluded from her coworkers as one of the main reasons she left her job after more than 25 years with the same company. So, for my sake and for my coworkers, I'm trying to be more social at work.  After all, if I struggle with connecting with others at work, then others must be feeling the same. 

It seems I am not alone in this; I stumbled across this article in my LinkedIn feed, and thought I'd share. How often do you just "stop in and say hi" with your coworkers? 

5 comments

Hi.

For 25 years, Your wife never try said 'Hi'? :-p

People are social beings. I talk with someone over tea every day and especially not on a work topic. 

B.R.
Andrew

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Zak Laughton Atlassian Team Jan 15, 2020

I can totally relate! I definitely get very heads down into my work, and need to make a conscious effort to get my head out of my computer and be a normal human :).

One audiobook I listened to recently that has a lot of wonderful ideas related to this is Never Eat Alone. For someone who isn't social naturally, it gives great tips on working social interaction into your regular life.

Ultimately, I've found just asking questions in general helps to spark conversation and build relationships. If anyone talks about something in their life non-work related, think about what you don't fully understand, and make it your goal to understand it! Ask questions – the more open-ended, the better. It's even better if you know nothing about a topic, which opens up the conversation to all sorts of material about the topic. (e.g. "Wow, that's cool that you went rock climbing! I've never done that before and know very little about it. What's that like? How'd you learn?")

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Great add @Scott Theus ! And thanks for the audiobook suggestion @Zak Laughton .

I struggled with my appearing "unapproachable" by coworkers years ago, and the person I worked with to overcome it provided this and similar suggestions. It helped over the years, though the habits have long been lost, and I'm incredibly shy/uncomfortable/awkward/(insert other synonyms here) around new people; just ask anyone who remembers encountering me at last year's Summit!

This topic, at the very least, puts this back in mind so that I can (force myself to?) do some refreshers soon in preparation for Summit 2020.

Like # people like this

Good read @Scott Theus 

We are still a small company, but you can already sense the lack of engagement between the people. Most of them prefer to put their headphones on, get the job done, have a slight chat with their team, and that's it. 

I hope this article will give me the courage to do something like you. Only a personal example can turn the tables here.

I am curious how this will go through time, so please share it after a month or two.

Like # people like this
Tim Keyes Atlassian Team Jan 19, 2020

This somewhat reminds me of the TED Talk Mike Cannon-Brookes did on impostor syndrome.  Its been exciting going from a small company in AgileCraft with a small office to a 500 person office as the Atlassian product Jira Align.  I now see and meet new people all the time at work.

https://www.ted.com/talks/mike_cannon_brookes_how_you_can_use_impostor_syndrome_to_your_benefit?language=en 

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