5 Steps to Amazing Relationships

30 May

When you look at both your personal life and your professional life, what is most important?

Did you say your relationships?  The relationships in life are what inspire, guide, support, console, and invigorate us.  So that we don’t take any relationship for granted, there needs to be a relationship mindfulness to what we do each day.

Every day, there is an opportunity to make a difference for each person in your life.  Whether it’s an opportunity to help your child feel how special they are in the world or giving your employees a glimpse of the greatness that is within them, the relationship with each is at the heart of making a difference.

There are so many ways for us to connect and it’s easy to mistake our connections for a relationship.  The number of friends I have on Facebook doesn’t mean I have that many relationships, not in the truest form.  Building professional relationships may start with a social media connection and what I do after I make the connection determines whether there’s any relationship growth.  Building relationships from our connections comes down to five steps:

1.      Reach out.  Relationships don’t just happen, you need to reach out and get to know what’s important to that person, know what’s going on, know how you can help others.  People don’t walk around wearing a sign that gives you all of the answers.  You need to ask the right questions and read the signs that let you know what they are about.  Reach out and meet people where they are.

2.      Be real.  There’s a lot written about authenticity today and not a lot that’s really understood.  Be who you are, express your emotions and ideas, avoid trying to impress others, and truly care about others.  Putting the wants and needs of others first will help you keep yourself in check.  This will help you show your real self.

3.      Listen.  It sounds so easy and it can be so hard to do.  Listen for the emotion of others, their fears, their desires, their frustrations, and their excitement.  Listening for the story behind their words helps to build on that connection.  Follow the 80/20 rule and listen 80% of the time.  Use your 20% talk time to ask questions and get really good at asking questions that encourages others to share their story.  Listening validates others and it’s one of the greatest gifts you can give.

4.      Add value.  In every interaction, look for ways to be a resource.  When you’re paying attention to all that’s going on, asking questions and listening for what’s important, you’ll be able to figure out how you can add value.  Is it an article that you can send?  Do you know someone you can connect them to?  Is there an opportunity you can make happen?  When you help others, you bring value to the relationship.

5.      Keep your promises.  Trust is fundamental in relationships.  Do what you say you will do to build and keep trust.  Your mindfulness builds the bank of trust.  You may have many deposits and a good size bank account and not keeping a promise can wipe out everything.  If you aren’t able to do something you promised, communicate it immediately and find an alternate solution.  Stay away from making big promises to incent people.  Keep things realistic and follow-through on your promises.  Keeping your promises is fundamental to building and sustaining trust.

Our relationships, both personal and professional, are the foundation for our success and our happiness.  People who are mindful in their relationships and do the things that are important to others, not only have success, they create a life others envy.  Be the envy of others – reach out and make a difference for the people in your life.

4 Responses to “5 Steps to Amazing Relationships”

  1. Jennifer Heinly May 31, 2011 at 8:31 am #

    Thanks for the great post Rhonda. Since I am also in a service business like you, we know these are the keys to great relationship marketing/sales as well. One of the key elements of relationship marketing is also the referral. I would add to be very careful about who you refer business or the network you align yourself for this a true reflection of you as a person and business owner.

    • askrhon May 31, 2011 at 8:45 pm #

      Referrals are the lifeblood of a service business and building strong relationships lets you know who you can refer. Reputation as a business owner is definitely tied to those we refer and our alignment.

  2. Nonprofit Chapin May 31, 2011 at 8:22 pm #

    Great post! I would add one element that kind of combines numbers 2 and 4, which is be open. Once you stop worrying about what the other person might think or what might happen if you share your perspective you will find that the relationship will blossom.

    • askrhon May 31, 2011 at 8:42 pm #

      You’re right! Openness is essential to building great relationships. Thanks for your insights.

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