If you’re like most people, you work in an office building that’s surrounded by other office buildings. (If you don’t, that’s ok, this still can apply to you). Your schedule more than likely doesn’t vary much from day to day: you arrive, put your stuff down, turn on your computer, get some coffee, sit down, type something, get some more coffee, say “hi” to co-workers as they arrive, get some more coffee, etc.
Thus continues the daily habitual confines that keep us isolated and perhaps a bit afraid to break away from our routines. Well, it’s time to change all that.
Recently, we watched from second-story windows as new folks began the chore of moving into the office space downstairs.We gazed in child-like wonder as various items made their way into the front doors: a foosball table, Ikea chaise lounges, 2 small dogs, a kegerator, wait, was that a bison head?
“Who are these folks, and how can we meet them ASAP?” we all thought. After some fun nerf gun fights and teasing about sneak attacks, we figured a meet and greet was definitely in order.
Aside from just plain fun, there are solid reasons why you should get out of your comfort zone and say “hi” to your neighbors.
Here are 5 reasons why you need introduce yourself, now!
1. Fun and humor breeds creativity and likability.
Fun isn’t just about taking a break and getting away from the grind. It’s necessary because fun and humor help you think clearly and get to new ideas quicker.
According to Stanford professor Tina Seelig, when a group of jazz musicians’ brains were monitored while they were playing music, doctors saw that the part of the frontal lobe that is associated with judgment went quiet. Therefore, creative folks have mastered the ability to shut off that big editor that lives in everyone’s heads.
Great, but how do you get to that creativity? According to Seelig, it’s through humor and fun. “A growing body of research shows that when you share a laugh with someone, you’re mirroring not only one another’s body language but also the hormonal and neuronal activity, prompting a mutual investment in each other’s well-being.”
So go ahead, laugh, get to that creative core so you can learn to not hold back and to let those ideas fly.
In addition, dozens of fancy surveys show that humor could be one of the keys to success. 91% of executives believe that a sense of humor is important for career advancement; while 84% feel that people with a good sense of a humor do a better job.
In short, humor makes you a more likable person. Who doesn’t want to work with people who make them chuckle?
2. Network without a name tag.
You could do a quick Google search and find out that networking events are beneficial. Also, in that same search, you would find out how to network, as well as where local networking events may be held. Good news, if you know the folks that work downstairs or around the corner, you can just pop on over, sans name tag and do a bit of schmoozing.
According to Sidra Condron, Marketing and Communications Manager at SpyFu (the super cool company that moved in below Axosoft), although they relocated from an effectively constructed office that was located in Founder and CEO Mike Roberts’ backyard, the growing company just got too big for it. And, because of networking, the team was able to easily find a perfect space.
“It was because of timing and opportunity that we found this new space,” says Condron. “Just as when we started looking for new locations, Hamid Shojaee, founder of Axosoft, spoke to Mike about the space. It just worked out because both Hamid and Mike have ties to the community and know people who are in the same area. It was a great alignment,” she adds.
Networking is nothing more than getting to know others, as well as the industry you are in.
For example, if you work in marketing, find another marketing person. It’s almost guaranteed you’ll have things in common.
3. Build up your business through referrals and strategic partnerships.
Let’s face it; in business, it’s not so much about who you know, but who knows you. Word of mouth and personal endorsements of your business is perhaps the most valuable type of advertisement you could have.
Personal relationships help your company rise above the noise and stand out. However, keep in mind that these personal relationships don’t just fall out of the sky; they must be nurtured.
According to Entrepreneur Magazine, “Any successful relationship, whether a personal or a business relationship, is unique to every pair of individuals, and it evolves over time. It starts out tentative, fragile, full of unfulfilled possibilities and expectations. It grows stronger with experience and familiarity. It matures into trust and commitment.”
Why not start a relationship by inviting your corporate neighbors over for some tacos and beverages. It seemed to work for Axosoft and SpyFu!
4. Birds of a feather help each other fly.
When you are surrounded by professionals who share the same ideals, culture, and approaches, this is something akin to going to a private school only certain folks have access to.“There’s a great opportunity to learn new best practices that have already been tested,” says Condron. If you are using something that works for your team and share similar cultures, it goes to follow that similar tools would work,” she explains.
“There’s a great opportunity to learn new best practices that have already been tested,” says Condron. If you are using something that works for your team and share similar cultures, it goes to follow that similar tools would work,” she explains.
“This idea follows even for office layouts. Shared learnings don’t just have to be for outside facing client projects,” Condron says.
Shojaee agrees wholeheartedly, “Collaborate and learn from each other. It’s not about competition because we are in completely different markets,” she continues.
One of the most valuable tools you can have as a professional is an outside opinion from someone who really understands what you’re dealing with on a day-to-day basis. “They are still in your space, but can give you that objective feedback,” continues Shojaee
5. Friendship; It’s Important. Don’t Deny it.
We all know how difficult it can be to make new friends once you’re out of college. We find ourselves spending more and more time at work, meeting the demands of paying bills, spending time with our spouses or partners and trying to find some “me” time. Outside of those things, friendships can suffer or be sparse.
“Culturally it’s nice to have friendships that are within your field, but not in your company. You can go downstairs and there’s a new friend,” expresses Shojaee. “You can talk about the same things that you are struggling with and learn from each other. An outside view can be very helpful.”
So, make those ties. Reach out and lend a hand. Have a party. Make tacos. Bring a taxidermied bison head. Before you know it, you’ll be creating strategic partnerships and creating a community. That is the exact energy you need to carry you through your day.
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