Have you seen those guys getting a promotion just because they discuss football with your boss? Your blood should be boiling by now – unless you are one of them. How can your boss be so unfair and prioritize his own hobby giving the promotion to your co-worker who can talk about football the whole day long – and not YOU, who worked from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. during the last 6 months straight?! This is just psychology, my dear – and so far it has been working against you.
Imagine that you are waiting in the line early in the morning for your coffee – dressed up in a suit, with your chick laptop case, with a cool smartphone in your hand. There is a hippie in front of you – old washed out jeans, eco cotton t-shirt..and then he orders your FAVOURITE coffee. A medium-hot latte with one spoon of maple syrup and no cream. Exactly what you are going to order. You feel so warm that somebody shares your taste, you feel so much respect for this guy..Don’t tell me that you are not going to feel like he is your new best friend))
This is exactly what happens when two share a hobby – it reduces the distance between people. Your boss thinks: “If he likes the same things I do, he can’t be a bad person!”
My experience shows that men are much more likely to try building a better connection to their boss through hobbies than woman are. We are losing a strategic advantage! Let’s see, which hobbies and interests, according to my experience, could push your career up:
- Football and American football
- Sailing (very popular in Northern Europe!)
- Golf and horse riding – classical “elite” sports
- Extreme sports
- Collecting anything
- Devices (phones, cameras etc.)
- Cooking and healthy food
Yes, even cooking is on this list, as I see a healthy lifestyle trend and have many senior colleagues that love to share healthy cooking recipes. You will be impressed, but people that are good at small talk have a much better chance to make a great career. The reason for that is simple: the higher you climb, the more important your soft skills and connections are and the less – your actual qualification. With very few exceptions. You are not fair with yourself by telling that your great job and excellent skills will be sufficient to give your career a good push. You work with people – and you will get a promotion from people, too.
As a woman, you should learn how to start a conversation about an interesting topic not in order to demonstrate how good you are at your hobby, but in order to give others an opportunity to do so. This is different from the usual male logic, however, it will give you an advantage. Even if you know that your boss loves American Football and you have no idea about it – just learn the basics, watch the last play and let him talk. As Carnegie mentioned in his books, people LOVE to talk – why don’t you start the conversation just in order to listen?
The right topic can also help you to break the ice. For instance, I had a meeting and a lunch with a client today, and the client was not happy with the outcome of the meeting. Eight people sitting in the lunch room with their plates in an absolute silence looked ridiculous. Therefore I started to talk about the bad weather – and that I expect hailstorms during the start of the sailing season in April. „Try it in the Northern Sea! It’s not your Baltic Sea, my dear!“ – the client replied. We spent the lunch break talking about sailing. And, yes, we have all the issues clarified by now.
Give yourself an opportunity to exchange experience and to get better chances for a good career. Talking to people is not a crime, therefore, knowing the interests of your clients, colleagues, your boss is a strategical thinking and there is nothing to be ashamed of. No matter what you do, in which industry you work – socializing will bring you only forward. Do not underestimate the power of the small talk about hobbies in your career!