It's Not All About You
When meeting virtual office neighbors, it's natural to want to tell them all about your business and what you do. You're passionate and you want to share your passion with others. Sometimes, though, passion for your business can come across as self-centeredness. When introducing yourself, stick to your elevator pitch and avoid going into unnecessary detail. Let the other person speak, and make sure you listen more than you talk. Your conversation partner will be impressed by your listening skills and will remember you favorably.
Find Common Ground
If you're all work and no play, other business owners will find you boring. They will expect you to have hobbies and interests outside of your professional life. If you don't appear to have any such hobbies, they'll think you're an out-of-touch workaholic, which will immediately put up a barrier between the two of you. Show your neighbors that you're more than just a cardboard cutout by mentioning one or two of your hobbies; you might find common ground that can spark a friendship. Be careful not to overdo it though, or your neighbors will wonder if you actually do anything business-related at all.
A Smile Is Good For The Soul
Studies show that first impressions are primarily formed based on non-verbal communication. What you say doesn't matter quite as much as how you say it. Your neighbor is likely developing a first impression of you based on cues such as your tone of voice, your posture, and your facial expressions. Making a good first impression is simple. Stand up straight with your shoulders back and don't cross your arms - crossing your arms or hunching your shoulders can send the message that you're emotionally cold and distant, which will hinder conversation. Neurologically speaking, the physical act of smiling is so closely associated with happiness and positive emotions that if you smile, the person you smile at will feel happiness as well.
Don't Bring An Office-Warming Gift
This may seem counter-intuitive - after all, an office-warming gift can leave quite the impression on the receiver - but this tidbit of advice is grounded in the psychological principle of reciprocity. When a person receives something for free, they generally feel obligated to return the favor. Giving someone an office-warming gift when they're not expecting it can leave them feeling guilty if they don't have a gift for you. This is not a good way to be neighborly. If you think an office-warming fruit basket or bottle of wine is an absolute must, leave it for after the initial meeting and make sure your neighbor knows to expect it. That way, they can be prepared with a gift for your team and avoid the guilt trip.
A Firm Handshake Goes A Long Way
Nothing signals weakness like a limp handshake. When you shake hands, keep a firm, steady grip. A solid handshake demonstrates confidence and charm, and charming people are fun to be around. A weak or limp handshake indicates that you are reserved and insecure, and that will cost you major charisma points. Your virtual office neighbors are far less likely to socialize or do business with you in the future if you greet them with a weak handshake. If you want to gain the respect and trust of your virtual office neighbors, a firm handshake is a must.
You don't get a second chance at a first impression. How you introduce yourself to your virtual office neighbors can influence your working relationship for years to come. These five pointers will help you start things off on the right foot, and have your neighbors inviting you out to lunch in no time.