Team works together in office space

Getting to know the people you work with will help you get things done. But working virtually can make it more difficult to read people. It’s especially tricky when you’re working with a large group, and you don’t have the time for one-on-one conversations. But being able to read your colleagues, even from afar, will go a long way to improving your workplace relationships. Here are some tips for getting to know your co-workers, even when you are not face-to-face:

DiSC Style Tips 1: Have a one-on-one introductory meeting

Spending ten minutes getting to know your colleague will go a long way. Schedule a short meeting to share information about your background, your strengths, and your favorite projects. Armed with this information, you will know what areas you can ask your colleague for help when you need it. It will also improve your connection with one another and lead to increased collaboration. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this before the large group meeting, do it as a follow-up.

DiSC Style Tips 2: Find Out Their DiSC Style

Alex, a customer relationship manager, is a sucker for small conversation. He believes that the first ten minutes of a meeting should be spent chit-chatting before getting down to business. His former coworker felt that was a waste of time. He wanted to get down to business as soon as the meeting began. He viewed Alex as a time waster, whereas Alex assumed his coworker was just being grouchy.

Neither Alex nor his colleague were wrong. People are unique and approach their relationships in unique ways. By understanding your DiSC style and learning about other DiSC styles, you can discover how to approach your relationships with coworkers in a way that works for both of you.

If both of you have taken a DiSC assessment, log on to Catalyst and review the section on “Your colleagues.” Select the person you want to get to know better and check out “Your maps together” and read about your similarities and your differences.

DiSC Style Tips 3: Watch for Visual Clues

In virtual meetings, your co-workers background might tell you one or two things about them. Pictures of kiddos in the background? A pet wandering in during the meeting? Sports memorabilia hanging on the wall? These are all things you can ask your colleague about.

Suggest an Ice-Breaker

At your next meeting, suggest an icebreaker that will allow you get to know people better. Learning where people grew up is interesting and insightful. Use a world map and ask each participant to show where they group up, and share a story or value they acquired from their hometown. This ice breaker serves to establish ties among colleagues by allowing you to learn about one another’s background, values, habits, and childhood memories.

You can also use the DiSC group map as an ice-breaker to show where each member of the group is on the Everything DiSC map. Have participants show where their dot is on the Everything DiSC map, and share an example of how their style has helped them with a project or task.

Use Chat During Meetings to Touch Base with People

Wondering what to talk about? Use conversation starters like a simple hello, ask about how they are feeling, what hobbies they enjoy or sports they like, their favorite vacation destination or tell them stories you know that can foster discussions and build rapport.

DiSC Style Tips 4: Read and Understand Social Cues

Social cues help you to read the non-verbal aspects of communication. A larger part of social interactions are non-verbal. Darlene Price, author of “Well Said! Presentations and Conversations That Get Results”, says non-verbal communication leaves between 63% and 93% more impact than spoken words.

You must be observant to read your colleagues. Their body language and mannerisms will tell you a lot about them and give you insight on how to improve your work relationship with them.

Example of Social Cues:

  • A constant glance at their wristwatch or around the room indicates that a person wants to leave or end a conversation. You may also hear words like “I have somewhere to get to” or “It’s been nice talking with you.”
  • Looking puzzled or frustrated may indicate they are not aligned with what is being discussed.
  • A high tone may indicate something exciting, and a low pitch, something serious.
  • Turning their video camera off during a virtual meeting may be an indication of lack of interest, or being too busy to focus on the meeting.

You can improve your recognition of social cues by being emotionally intelligent and observing your colleagues during conversations. Also, understanding their workplace DiSC styles will enhance your understanding of the signals their non-verbal communication is transmitting.

Getting to know and understanding the people you work with is key to boosting your morale, making your work enjoyable, and thus increasing productivity.

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