I was taught to address people by their last names, say thank you (not thanks), and to speak properly in work and educational settings. I thought speaking formally was a way to show my respect for those I work with, but I was perceived as unfriendly and not confident. Speaking too politely made it difficult to foster lasting relationships with my peers and supervisors. What made it worse is that I rarely talked to them about anything besides work. After I started a marketing internship, I quickly learned that speaking so formally was killing my business relationships.
Iron Mountain has a very social culture. Messages between new contacts have a vibe of familiarity. Conference calls begin and end with small side conversations about new foster puppies or the recent winter storms. A cheerful “Thanks! :)” pops up at every available opportunity.
The friendliness of my coworkers has created a work environment that is accepting of ideas and questions, which is something admire and hope to emulate. I still struggle with water cooler conversations, but I see improvements in my business relationships as I learn to talk more casually.