Monday morning. The workweek has begun. Finding motivation to get through the tasks of the day at my new job could potentially be a struggle, but I’m eager to get into the office. Why? Because I can’t wait to talk to my coworkers about the previous night’s Game of Thrones finale.
It’s a fact that employees perform better when they enjoy the people they’re around. But if, for example, you’re someone who works in a big office or someone who’s new to a company, it might be difficult to forge instant friendships with coworkers. But that’s where the “water cooler convo” can make a difference. Even a bit of small talk goes a long way when you’re looking to make connections at the office.
That small talk can even lead to something bigger. A Harvard Business Review article highlights just how your career can be impacted by striking up a casual conversation with someone superior to you at work. The article advises that, even when you talk about things that aren’t necessarily job related, you should always approach a conversation with a boss with preparation. Any conversation is a chance to make an impact and show who you are.
But that doesn’t just apply to those who work above you. Building relationships with your coworkers…
- Increases the sense of community at work
- Creates a unified purpose
- Strengthens your personal network
- Establishes an atmosphere of camaraderie and trust
- And even boosts productivity.
Establishing that first, initial connection is always the hardest. It’s often difficult to get past the friendly greeting and into a real conversation. You’ll need to figure out a way to connect. The best way to do so is figure out something the person is passionate about and some way that you can relate to them. And in the age of entertainment obsession, a main thing that falls into that category is television. Many a workplace has at least one employee who can quote The Office, who has never missed an episode of The Bachelor, or who has binge-watched Friends multiple times.
Often, your cultural capital can be a huge asset when establishing relationships. People will light up when you ask them what they thought about the most recent episode of something they watch. And one of the best things about connecting with a coworker about a TV show you both watch is that you’ve then connected that show to each other; when a new episode rolls around, you know you’ll be having a conversation at work the next day about the latest unexpected twist.
On Monday, before even saying my hello, my coworkers immediately asked me, “Did you watch?!” After we quickly shared our reactions to the Game of Thrones finale, I headed to my cubicle with a huge grin. Having that conversation got me excited to start my day, knowing that I was building positive relationships with my coworkers while also talking about something I loved.
But there is one thing that could ruin coworker relationships when it comes to talking TV: if the people around you aren’t caught up, then zip it. No spoilers, please!