Making a meaningful connection with a high-profile employer can sometimes seem like an impossible feat. Although you share the same space, it can feel like you’re living on different planets.
In order to bridge this seemingly insurmountable gap, remember to connect over basic shared human experiences. Having money and fame can be incredibly isolating, and your employer will appreciate connecting with you on occasion. Likewise, being able to communicate with your employer will ease your nerves and make you feel more comfortable in your role.
Here are a few do’s and don’ts for when you’re feeling tongue-tied:
Ask More/Share Less
People feel close to you when they share things about their life with you. They generally don’t feel close to you when you share things about your life with them. Be sure to ask questions and avoid oversharing about your own life.
Focus On Their Kids!
This is the most obvious and easiest thing to talk about between pregnant pauses. Share a sweet moment you observed, or ask them questions about their memories/experiences with their little ones. Don’t go on and on about your own experiences with their kids, it can make parents feel like they’re missing out.
Offer Genuine Compliments
No need to play things too icy cool – if you think their parenting style is admirable or they’re doing a great job keeping it all together with their busy work/social schedules… let them know! We all have our own set of struggles, and pointing out what people do well is never a bad thing to do. Don’t over compliment them, or “fangirl” out – gauge their reaction with a few soft compliments. Some people genuinely love receiving praise, while others may feel uncomfortable with too much attention being drawn to themselves.
If nothing else, feel free to compliment them on something regarding their home, flowers, new clothes they have purchased for their children, haircut, or jacket. Of course, don’t follow that with a “how much was it?” or “where did you get it?” as the answers to those questions can sometimes make the gap between your world and theirs seem even larger. Just by letting them know you admire something is a nice way to break the ice and shows that you are attentive and appreciative when it comes to their household.
Bring Up Their Hobbies
Look for evidence of hobbies that the person is interested in and ask about them. Do they have lots of travel pictures? Climbing gear? A great tea selection? Just by paying attention, you may be able to find some common ground with them. Don’t be too much of a detective about finding common interests, as privacy and discretion are top priorities for most high-profile families.
Ask About Their Recent Experiences – How Was Their Day/Vacation/Shopping Trip?
Just a general check-in is a quick and easy opening for connection. Listen to what they have to say and affirm their struggles if they share any. You might hear a complaint that sounds bizarre to you, like “I just don’t have time to go on this trip to Mallorca because of Sebastian’s school play this weekend!” Realize that this is just as much of a source of stress for them as most people’s “I haven’t had time for a vacation in 8 years” complaint. Don’t come across as unsympathetic when you hear something like that, it only widens the gap. Instead, try to be empathetic, genuine, and kind in your response.
The most important way of connecting with your high-profile employer is by finding some common ground while maintaining professional boundaries. Remember to keep your personal life to yourself, and respect their privacy while working to gently and organically build bridges between your employers and yourself.
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