The New Year is almost upon us, and with it, the resolutions. One thing that we can all resolve to improve is our relationships. Relationships are central to our success in the business world, so why not make sure we make the best of every potential opportunity? Here are some tips to consider when resolving to build relationships.
If you are at an event, push yourself to meet new people instead of huddling with colleagues. Even if you’re at the very beginning of your career it’s important to be proactive about relationship-building with colleagues at other firms, potential clients, or media. Get over this initial hurdle and you will soon be communicating with others up and down the business ladder, more effectively.
Promote Honest Feedback
Honest feedback promotes clearer communication between yourself and others with regards to expectations and outcomes. It also affords a great opportunity to build rapport with your co-workers and clients (or potential ones) on a personal level. Asking for constructive feedback on projects that succeeded or on those that could have performed better demonstrates your commitment to accountability.
Listen More, Talk Less
Practice really listening instead of talking. Of course you should be actively engaged in the conversation, but by choosing to be a receptive listener and offering only well-thought out points (instead of random comments to fill the silence) you can present yourself as a considerate business partner.
Don’t be afraid to be (slightly) inquisitive about people when you first meet them. Innocuous, open-ended questions are best, like “What attracted you to this business?” or “What did you think of the conference?” But if they volunteer personal details, take note. You never know when a client’s three years of high school French or interest in baking may come in handy.
Go the Extra Mile
Finally, be sure to make every communication touchpoint COUNT. For example, consider giving a new contact a phone call or suggest meeting face-to-face instead of relying solely on e-mail. This provides you with a tremendous opportunity to get to know them on a more personal level, demonstrating that that they are more than just an email address.
Got any other tips that may come in handy for improving business relationships in 2013? Then be sure to leave them in the comments section down below. And last, but not least, best of luck in the New Year!