Actual face-to-face interactions with your co-workers! Remember those people? We are out of practice of how to socialize and interact especially in the workplace, and so there are lot of fears of what to do but don't worry... we turn to Vice President of the social engagement company JabberYak, Shideh Doerr, to learn ways to break the ice at work.
Shideh: for starters express yourself with fashion... wear a shirt from your favorite team or your alma mater shirt or your favorite music band or concert that you went to, which is a great way to start a conversation and if you have to dress to impress, sometimes it's statement pieces it could be a blouse or a sweater or it could be a necklace or earrings or a tie. If you make your fashion an extension of you, it's sure to ease the tension.
Next, decorate your office space to reflect you so your office is like your home... decorate it to represent who you are, for example, you could hang a banner from your favorite team or poster from your school or even your diploma from where you graduated from... those are conversation starters and same goes for when you go into someone else's office, say for an interview, look around the room for something that can spark a conversation. It can give someone a competitive edge to walk in there and know something about you before the first word is ever spoken.
Get your name out there by volunteering each month to do something nice... like if you're sitting around the house one day with nothing to do, bake a batch of cookies take them in, put them in the break room, maybe with like a little note or a quote to lift somebody up and it may motivate people to come say hi and just kind of start conversation from there.
Finally, practice open-ended questions... you can't just ask yes or no or one-word answered questions; so beyond asking how are you where they can simply respond with good, she says, hey what did you do this weekend? Or like, do you know any good restaurants in town that you would recommend? Always leave it open ended so that someone can feel free to converse with you and give you information.
Now we're ready to take the social plunge by breaking the ice at work.