Viv emailed me this article from Businessweek: The importance of connecting with colleagues. If you can forgive the slightly office politics tone there’s some interesting nuggets here.

For instance there was research looking at the effect of students’ locations in their dorms. Apparently, if you’re in the room at the end of the corridor, you’ll experience much less social success than if you’re in the middle. Also,

How much we reveal about ourselves—and our own vulnerability—also helps us click. One study conducted by SUNY-Stony Brook social psychologist Arthur Aron and his research team paired individuals who didn’t know each other and assigned each a set of cocktail-party-type questions, such as: What did you do over the holidays? The other half were given questions that required more intimate self-revelation, such as: What are your most treasured memories? The pairs who were forced to be more vulnerable in their answers formed incredibly quick, deep connections. One pair even married.

I sometimes come up with introductory activities for meetings and try to set topics to talk about that get a bit deeper than cocktail parties.

Even if the personal revelations are from a machine, the effect still works:

..when the computer “self-disclosed,” prefacing its questions with a “confession” such as “There are times when this computer crashes for reasons that are not apparent to its user,” students were significantly more forthcoming.

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