Building Relationships

Some of you may remember the book, All I Really Need to Know I learned in Kindergarten. It is a light-hearted look back at some very basic, common-sense rules about getting along with other people. The thing is, though, we often forget some of them.

Relationships are key to success.

Here are a couple of reminders for when you meet new people and start developing a relationship with them.

Focus on one person at a time – In this era of technology, it might seem that a newsletter or an email blast is the best way of staying in touch with a lot of people. But nothing beats an individualized message. People will remember that you took the time to do that.

Remember to smile and greet people – It makes you approachable. All too often we forget to check how we appear to other people. A frown or grimace could be due to an unexpected bill or something, but the person you’re first meeting doesn’t know that. They think you’re frowning at them.

Ask questions – When you meet someone for the first time, ask them questions about themselves. Generally, people like to talk about themselves, so by expressing an interest in them, you give them permission to share themselves with you.

Pay attention – All too often we forget to focus solely on the person in front of us. We can’t help it, when our phone buzzes either a text or a call, we just have to look and see who it is. Unfortunately, that gives the person you’re talking to the impression that you have someone more important to talk to. Your phone will let you know who called or sent a message after you wrap up your conversation in person. Do everyone the courtesy of being present to them when you’re meeting face to face.

Learn to embrace differences – Not everyone is the same. One of the biggest secrets to relationship building is to appreciate that not everyone things just as you do. It doesn’t mean you’re wrong. It doesn’t mean they’re right. You both have different perspectives based on different life experiences. Learning about one another is an excellent way to develop a greater understanding of the world. Try to listen without judgment to new ideas. Not only is it a sign of respect, it is an opportunity to learn something new.

Building relationships takes time and persistence. Not everyone will want to reciprocate, and that’s all right. There are plenty who will.