Build, Connect and Maintain Relationships
By Lora Crestan
Relationships are the way of doing business today, even simply getting to know the people in your community. You can connect on many of the social media sites, Google someone; find out all the details about anyone before you even meet them! So imagine the power of understanding how to build a relationship.
Relationships are work and not to be taken lightly. A relationship is a commitment. You are committing to getting to know someone, and letting them into your life as well. No longer is a relationship strictly about a transaction in the world of business. A relationship implies trust, confidence and an understanding of the individuals as a people with lives.
Relationships start as a contact, move to become a connection and then build into a bridge that you can maintain. How does all of this work?
Think back to the last time you met someone interesting that you wanted to get to know better. Perhaps you were introduced by a mutual friend or business associate, even family member. You probably shook hands, introduced yourself and talked a little about what each other does in life – home life, work life, community life. This was the beginning of the connection.
Why did you want to meet that individual? Did they know something you wanted to learn, or was there the possibility to do business together? Was there potential for making a friend?
What steps did you take before meeting them? Any research on LinkedIn, a Google-search, ask questions of mutual connections? Did you formulate a list of questions you wanted to ask? Interesting that now we can actually investigate our new relationships before we even start them. This same investigation can lead to an understanding about if we want to continue to build a relationship before we even start.
Now that you have made contact and gotten to know them, they are a connection. You feel a better level of comfort communicating with this new person in your life. How does this move to a full-scale relationship? By working on staying in touch, learning about each other, you can maintain the relationship and make it last as long as you both would like.
Communication is key. Listening, talking, reading body language, asking more questions, genuinely being concerned and caring in all your discussions. Giving and getting feedback is also part of the communication process, helping to strengthen a relationship even when the feedback may be hard to give or take, and implement. The highest compliment you can pay is to implement the feedback and ask for more. This is showing your new connection that you trust and respect their judgement and are thanking them for caring about you. This is building new layers into the relationship that creates bond for the future.
Relationships take time and are worth the human connection and love we feel in return. Not love in the emotional, I-want-to-marry-you sense, but love in the sense that you are cared for, and others are interested in your well-being. These bonds can become hard to break. These bonds can also lead to a variety of relationship links that could help you find a new job, become involved in a community endeavour, help you through a crisis, and extend partnerships for business deals in new directions.
Never take a relationship for granted. It can disappear before you know it without maintenance, and that could be when you need it most.