Today being Saturday, I couldn’t think of a more befitting topic to discuss. It just feels right.
Remember those times when we played tag and built sandcastles on the playground? I’m sure you do; it doesn’t matter that you’re all important now with your nice suits and fancy leather shoes.
It wasn’t very long ago that we were all running around without a care in the world. In those days, making friends was paramount to having fun.
The number of friends you had determined the kind of fun you had. One friend… well, fun but you could only play so many games. But with three or more friends (ooh, now we’re talking), there’s no limit to the things you could do.
Even now, as adults, forming new bonds is just as important. Meaningful professional relationships mean more opportunities and accelerated career growth.
That’s why we spend a good amount of money to buy or rent a nice outfit for those black-tie events and office dinners. We want to make a good impression. We mingle, shake a few hands, and hopefully get a few phone numbers.
As you well know, nurturing a professional relationship demands a certain degree of finesse in order to make things work. Intentionality and mindful investment are key. In the end, to get what you want, you would have to play your cards right.
You must base all your encounters on three solid foundations: communication, trust, and respect. All three require time and substantial effort. But eventually, you will reap bountiful rewards. But how exactly do you make it happen? That’s exactly what we will be discussing.
First, seek to give
Do you often make the mistake of putting yourself forward as someone who needs help? Don’t get me wrong; there’s nothing wrong with asking for a favor, especially when you do it humbly and honestly.
However, when seeking a lasting relationship that’s rooted in mutual respect, first impressions are everything. In that light, can you now see how giving off a metaphorical stink of desperation and wanting to receive can have an off-putting effect and put the person you’re approaching on the defensive?
Instead, what you need to do is present yourself as an absolute giver or simply as a person who can stand on their own two feet. That’s right, I don’t need you. Duurrgh! But we stand to benefit mutually by coming together.
Even if you do need something from them, don’t make that the basis upon which you kick off the interaction.
So, the next time you meet a person you’d like to roll with, make them feel like you are worth listening to and spending time with. You are someone who can fill a void in their lives; someone who they would appreciate having around.
I leave it to you to figure this out for yourself, for what works for one may not work for another. Take it upon yourself to be creative when you meet someone new. Give them a reason to always remember you positively.
Ask for their opinion
People want to be heard. Nothing pleases a person more than to be appreciated and wanted. And if you can give them that, they’ll love you for it. One way to apply this in your encounters is by soliciting your target’s opinions and actually putting those opinions, when given, to use.
But hold on; it doesn’t stop there. Ensure that they know that you made use of what they offered. They’d feel so valued that they’d want to give more of their time and resources. To them, it’d only be money well spent.
Be all about the good vibes
Nobody likes a stick in the mud. On the contrary, they are drawn to those who make them want to try new things and feel good about themselves; someone who can get them to abandon their cares and just be.
That person should be you. If you can do that, you’re well on your way to forming strong bonds with your prospects.
Always strive to put people in good humor, and next thing you know, they’ll be seeking you out.
Listen, listen, listen
The world is full of people who would rather speak than listen, people who do not pay attention and barely observe. If you can prove to be attentive, not just when people are speaking but also to non-verbal cues, you will be able to identify what irks them and thus be able to make thoughtful gestures.
You’d not only earn respect but also much admiration.
Project strength, but also be honest
Identify your weaknesses and keep working on them. But keep your strengths at the forefront and let them give you an advantage. Be careful not to claim to be something you are not, or that could backfire and ruin a relationship rather than save it.
If you can apply these insights that are clearly backed by solid social science, your relationships will begin to improve, and you can open doors that will lead you to higher levels in your professional life.
However, it will take a good deal of practice to internalize these concepts and apply them effectively.