Restaurant.com partnered with New York Times best-selling author Keith Ferrazzi to conduct a research project on fostering relationships of all varieties through dining.

The result was five conversation guides for various dining occasions, including family, friends, significant others, colleagues, and clients. Each week, we will be sharing one of those dining guides on The Dish, along with a real-world example of what the guides can do to improve relationships.

This week’s guide is for colleagues. If you try the guide with your own colleagues, let us know how it went in the comments section below.

A Cure for the Mondays

Becky, a 30-something stockbroker in Chicago, signed up for the new Ferrazzi Greenlight-Restaurant.com mealtime conversation project out of quiet desperation. She had spent dozens of hours each week with the same small crew in a cramped office without learning much about any of them. And they were in the dark about her, too. No one knew that she and her husband had a baby on the way, for instance, or about her love for scuba diving or her collection of rare timepieces from around the world. Even though she loved her job, Becky found herself dreading the start of each busy week. Could she make it to the next weekend with no personal connections beyond texts and Facebook messages with her friends from outside work? Was she being the best possible team member, when her mind was so often anywhere but with her team?

Becky was an ideal candidate for The Greenlight Dining Guide—a brief list of suggestions for how to build stronger relationships during a meal out with colleagues. She even had the perfect excuse: Her birthday was coming up!

Becky issued an invitation and chose “What was your best team experience?” from the guide to kick off conversation during her birthday lunch. Away from their downtown office at a quiet Italian restaurant, she and her colleagues for the first time began to share experiences that had shaped their personal and professional lives.

Becky says questions from the guide helped introduce a sense of mutual support and genuine collaborative spirit. Discussing what the team envisioned accomplishing over the next year—and how they could help each other get there—really struck a chord and gave everyone a fresh look at the value that each person added to the team.

The fact is, everyone has the power to transform their workplace into a place of engagement with a community of people who sincerely care about each other. Social suffocation is not good for business and it is not good for you.Sometimes, all a group needs is the smallest nudge to realize that we are all, in fact, connected.

The Greenlight Dining Guides—which cover clients, colleagues, family, friends, and spouses—are a  collaboration between Restaurant.com and Keith Ferrazzi, author of Never Eat Alone and chairman of myGreenlight Academy. To make the guides as useful as possible for Restaurant.com’s users, Ferrazzi’s expertise in relationship-building meal-time conversation is bolstered by other specialists in the field of psychology, relationships and communication, including Veronica Berenstein, PhD; John Gottman, PhD; Mark Goulston, MD; Dave Joseph, LICSW; Ramdas Menon, CHt; and Ziggy Yoediano, MD, MBA. For more advice and guidance on developing fulfilling interpersonal relationships, visit Keith Ferrazzi’s blog.