Building Deeper Connections with Others
Building Deeper Connections with Others
Relationships are important not only in personal life but also in business. Professional relationships include relationships with your employees, customers, your industry peers and the community your business operates in.
Professional relationships are important for many reasons. They help cultivate loyal customers; attract and retain new customers; build profitable and trusted relationships with clients, partners and community; and nurture a positive brand reputation everywhere.
Building such lasting relationships takes effort, time and is a continuous process. Here are some ways that you can use to begin attracting and nurturing deeper connections. The process of relationship building has no end, which means you need to keep practicing these methodsinfinitim:
Practise Active Listening
Active listening is important to communicate with other people clearly and understand their obvious and underlying messages. Active listening includes understanding, re-affirming the statements of, and responding to, the other person.
Intense focus is key to active listening. Unless you give complete attention to what the other person is saying, you cannot focus, or listen actively. Making eye-contact and employing an approachable body language are key elements of active listening.
These elements make the other person comfortable in your presence and allow them to speak frankly with you. When you really listen to another person, your words and responses, and your body language are more personal, which inspires confidence in the other person.
Your sincerity is conveyed through your responses, which can earn you the other person’s respect and trust.
It is also important to set aside motives while listening. For example, a customer may be talking to you regarding a negative experience with your brand. Your focus while listening to the customer must be on solving the issue rather than making a cross-sell to the person.
It is equally important to follow-up on the conversation and provide a solution to the person.
Listen to the Feelings Behind the Words
When you listen to another person, make it a practice to listen to not only the words of the person but also his or her feelings.
For example, a member of the community may be requesting funds from you for the cause of cancer. Try to connect to the individual’s commitment to the cause on an emotional level.
Relate to the person’s strength of conviction and determination by recollecting the time when you were so passionate about a cause. The person could have lost someone close to cancer. Know his or her story so that you can connect to that sense of loss and sadness.
It can be difficult to connect to people on an emotional level because people are wary about showing their emotions. To connect emotionally with others, it is important to be comfortable with your own emotions and accept them.
Give and Receive Honest Feedback
For a relationship to be deeper, it needs to be honest. Be it your partners, suppliers, clients or customers, ask for constructive feedback. Set the boundaries correctly by letting them know that they can and should expect the same from you.
It is only with frank suggestions, opinions and feedback that you can move forward with greater confidence. This is because both of you know where each stands and how much you will be able to support each other.
Admitting mistakes is also part of maintaining an honest relationship. Go ahead and admit your mistake and share your strategy for setting things straight. You will most likely be admired for your courage and thoughtfulness. You will also be setting an example for others in building stronger relationships through honesty.
It is honesty that lays the foundation for a long-lasting relationship because each of you knows that the other can be trusted.
Be Willing to Nurture Relationships
No relationship deepens by itself. It takes time and efforts to nurture a relationship. Spend more time on key professional relationships. This could be a customer that has been loyal to your business for decades; a supplier that helps you with timely advice; or an employee that has taken your business forward through thick and thin.
Make it a routine to connect with such people. There are numerous resources that make keeping in touch easier, including social media and video-speaking resources.
Another way to be in touch and nurture relationships is by giving timely help to people in need of it. For example, a peer may have mentioned of his or her plan to visit India during one of your meetings. Send an article or a video related to the travel to your peer. Your peer will be overjoyed that you remembered this piece of information from the meeting and will be thankful for your thoughtfulness.
You could also meet your contacts face to face through activities that you mutually enjoy such as over a sports tournament or a music night. You could participate in activities that you both enjoy such as say golf or exercise.
Be Ready to Give
When you expect something from a relationship, it is important to give to the same extent. So, if you have had a timely market insight from an industry person, then be willing to reciprocate. If your loyal customer wants you to connect him or her to an industry mentor, be willing to make the effort.
If you are unwilling to help or return a favour, then you are likely to get the same treatment when you are in need.
The way you treat your people can be an important differentiator that can make your brand a success. More than money, it is respect and trust that people desire. If you are able to give these to people, then you can earn the same loyalty and trust in return.
Giving also applies to giving back to the community. Use your brand to support social issues that you believe in. Build your relationships with people in your community that share your beliefs. Such giving builds strong brand advocates who can lead the way for more powerful and deeper relationships.
Always Be Open to New Relationships
As important as relationship building is, it is equally important to let new people in. Sometimes, your existing network can prevent you from forming new relationships. This can be a loss because new people bring new perspectives and fresh ideas, which are vital for a business.
One way to build new relationships is by keeping notes of all the interesting people you meet. You could transfer the details to your in-house contact database. You could make a routine of keeping in touch with these people.
Maintaining an in-house database of contacts can be invaluable as it can help you find a useful contact during times of need, say for example, when you are in an urgent need of a supplier.
So, keep your existing relationships alive but be open to meeting new people too.
It would also be wiser to eliminate relationships that have lost their usefulness or have turned hostile.
A successful business is about a strong team. Deeper relationships will help you take more risks, innovate fearlessly, and recover faster from setbacks. You can acquire the qualities needed to build deeper relationships through training and psychology coaching.
You can learn more about building deeper relationships through this webinar by Pinnacle Wellbeing Services scheduled for March 6, 2020. You may also be interested in the leadership coaching and psychology training services offered by Pinnacle Wellbeing Services for building deeper relationships.