Socialization is the process of learning how to become part of a culture. It occurs when one interacts with other people. It not only allows all individuals in a community to develop very similar values, norms and beliefs, but also prevents them from developing emotional or mental disabilities.
There can be a lot of ways to socialize; be it through mass media or face-to-face meeting, listening to or talking to someone or maybe just watching others as to how they carry themselves.
It is equally important that we learn how to socialize at the workplace. Although, the conversations that people have at work are not always about work. It is appropriate at certain times to socialize or talk to other people about non-work-related things too. That’s natural, isn’t it?
Considering the fact that we spend more time at workplace than we do at our home, it is really important to build good relationships at work too.
Art of socializing at work
Socializing at work not only helps in developing good bonds, but also means opening up about things that may be happening in everyday life, outside of work. This helps people get to know one another on a personal level.
There are different levels or meanings of how to socialize at workplace. Let’s take a closer look at that-
Socializing with superiors
Many people find it hard to socialize with their manager or seniors or higher authorities and get nervous around them.
This gap in status or position at work may result in social misunderstanding, ego conflicts, or even makes the ice tougher to break.
This is why it’s needed to bridge the gap and keep the conversation going! All good organizations provide multiple channels to makes communication easier with the management authorities.
On the other hand, no matter how comfortable you are with your higher authorities, there should always be a thin line which should not be crossed at any cost.
You should always be respectful while talking to them. Using appropriate language, talking with dignity, keeping needed distance, not talking about topics that are offensive or inappropriate in any way, are some must to-do things while talking to your seniors.
Socializing with coworkers
Strong relationships enable the team to work better together. The studies reveal that people who communicate well about nonwork matters are more likely to connect well on professional level. They are more likely to bond as team partners, effective colleagues and help the company to achieve more.
But one should also keep in mind that no matter how comfortable you are with your colleagues, you should never cross the professional boundaries, never make hideous personal remarks, and certainly not hurt them in any way whether it is from your physical or verbal expressions.
Socializing with clients
Now here comes the most critical, yet important part that we must all understand. If your duty entails interacting frequently with clients or customers, then you should be able to talk on both business and non–business terms.
Of course, remembering that you are not supposed to be over-friendly, keeping in mind they are your clients, your important stakeholders.
Your clients should not feel like they are talking to someone who is high-handed or full of oneself, they should feel as if they are working with a real person.
You should be able to build trust and compatible relationship with your customer by getting to know them, getting to know what they like, what they dislike, why they chose you, how you can help them in proving the decision of choosing you right.
But, you should avoid asking too many personal questions, or speaking before them, or not giving them choices. Let them reveal their interests and concerns. This will translate the relationship between you and your client in a better experience.
Regardless of these points, there are so many other things which we need to keep in mind whilst socializing at workplace.
Any conversation that one makes, should be balanced and appropriate, knowing how they would feel if someone else said the same thing to them.
Socializing frequently can be an obstacle in between people and work. You can be a bad example for them. Socializing at wrong times can leave a negative impression on your work front as well as your personality front.
To save yourself from coming out at someone who is just being friendly all the time or trying to get too personal, adhere to certain timings that may be right for socializing, if needed:
- During lunch breaks
- Before a meeting starts
- Crossing paths in the corridors
- While helping a customer
- During team activities or events
The most important thing while socializing is to be friendly. It can happen that you are good with socializing people, but maybe your peer is not. Maybe he/she is an introvert and doesn’t like to be prodded or poked in the get togethers often. So you should always keep in mind of the person or group you are socializing with.
Be observant if someone is interested or not, feeling left out or not, getting bored or not or if he/she is getting a chance of talking too.
Another very important aspect is being VOCAL with your emotions – your hand gestures, your body language or even with your eyes are as important as being communicational.
Listening to others and responding appropriately, always be sincere and honest about compliments, saying hello, and being positive also comes under the art of socialization.
It shows other that they matter, and their ideas are important.
Don’t we all agree to the fact that being social at work has come a long way from just making small talks with your coworkers, to being a necessary skill to foster a healthier environment to work?
Just knowing when and how to socialize and doing it just the right way is what one needs to understand.
Because as they say-
“The key is finding the happy medium where employees are friendly, polite and supportive, but not entangled in each other’s lives.”