The pressure to make a good impression at work is daunting enough—never mind only having two or three minutes to do so. But the reality is that the day-to-day interactions you have with your boss likely won't be much longer than that; whether you have a chance encounter in the elevator or bump into them by the bathroom, you only have minutes, if not seconds, to leave a positive impression.
Of course, 60 seconds will not make or break your career—but you can start building important relationships at the office by reaching for the right conversation starters.
"No matter how frequently you meet with your boss or manager, every interaction is an opportunity to move your career forward," said Michelle Prince, the global head of learning and development at Randstad, a multinational human resources consulting firm, to Inc. "While your first inclination may be to discuss trivial topics like the weather, kids, pets, traffic, etc., go for something more substantial instead, which will ultimately leave a stronger impression."
More specifically, Prince recommends asking a question about a recent meeting or commenting on a successful project to "signal to your boss that you are not only focused on work but that you are committed to growing in your role," she explains. "If you only have a few minutes together, use the time to express curiosity or recognize a success."
Of course, she cautions against bringing up politics, religion, money, or office gossip at all costs. Instead, "be noticed as a team player by complimenting a co-worker or sharing credit for a win," explains Prince. You'll gain recognition and build a much more favorable reputation.
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Head over to Inc. for more, and share your tactics for making the best possible first impression in the comments.