Feeling lost after navigating a maze of parking lots, I finally found myself in the lobby of LinkedIn at their headquarters in Mountain View, CA. In under a minute, I felt welcome in the space of this behemoth social network company. How though? Upon reflection, I noticed that the woman at the front desk did 3 things to invoke this feeling of belonging:
1.) Be genuine and say “hi.”
Many people in many different organizations do the second half of this one. You’ve probably experienced it actually. You walk into a retail store, and somebody comes up and greets you with “hi” or some variation of it. Sometimes it feels like they had to- and sometimes it feels like a connection. At LinkedIn, she meant it. She said “hi” like I was an old friend walking into her living room. It didn’t feel like she said “hi” 400 times earlier that day – although she likely did. Being genuine can be a choice. It takes intention. And like many other choices, the more you do it, the more automatic it gets. Try greeting your next guest, customer, or client as if they were your first and only guest, customer, or client.
2.) Offer something of value.
After saying hello, she pointed us toward a mountain of free snacks, candy, coffee, and water. Now, many organizations probably cannot afford to give mountains of free food away. That is not the point. The point is that somebody gave me something valuable for no reason at all. My question to you: what do you have to offer that is worth something? Maybe it is a genuine appreciation? A suggestion? Being a really great listener? A discount? Whatever it is, you can use the following guiding question to drive your answer: what can I share with you in this moment that is worth having?
3.) Accept people immediately.
For this post, I had asked to snap some photos. In particular, I asked to take a time lapse this giant panel of letters in the main lobby that was lighting up periodically with the LinkedIn company values. (If you are curious, you can view this time lapse to see LinkedIn’s company values on our YouTube channel right here.) Time lapses are just like pictures…except they take 500x as long to take. The assistant at the front desk could have easily turned down my request, yet instead she was supportive of the idea and was even excited to see the finished product.
Remember, this was one interaction with one employee in a very large company, and her actions can’t possibly represent the whole. Yet, to our team, this is an example of how a single individual can make a profound difference in such a large organization. As our friends at World in Conversation like to say, “a tiny act can have profound effects.”
Need a fun question from the We! Connect Cards deck to spark a connection? We felt the one above was appropriate for being at LinkedIn HQ.