These days we live in a business world that is dominated by technology. Computers, apps, cloud technologies, social media platforms that make our day to day lives easier, however, there are certain aspects of conducting business and interacting in a workplace that will always be hard to replace.
Building relationships are one of these. Relationships are one thing that can never be replaced by machine or technology – it’s human behaviour and let’s face it, everyone is different!
Relationships can help you in your current role from helping you solve those difficult problems to helping you with your next promotion. From a personal perspective, they can lead you to future career opportunities or even help you learn new skills that you have always wanted to know.
Relationships are complex and therefore lies the challenge of where do you start when creating new ones and how to make the best of them?
These few tips will steer you in the right direction so you know what to say, who you should speak with and what’s the best way to make sure that you are building the right network.
- It’s all about the knowing…. Know what you want to achieve. Know who you want to build a relationship with
Know what kind of connections that you want to make, is it people in a similar role? Is it within a department that you would like to know more about? Is it within your current organisation or with a supplier?
Columnist for Forbes, Kare Anderson, writes on behavioural research-based ways to become more deeply connected to your network suggests that we should seek out people who are different from ourselves. This is because we can make connections with people that can complement the current skill set that we have and can make great things to happen. If we connect with the same people, we are creating the same things.
- How to make it happen… How to reach people
There are so many ways to reach out to people, traditional networking, phoning, emailing, social media, in the staff break out areas, the list goes on. LinkedIn still has the business network wrapped up. It’s a powerful tool in searching and connecting with the right person.
Follow them, comment on their posts and establish the channel for them to get in touch. If you have mutual connects ask for a hand, most people want to help and make you succeed in life. Chat with people with people who you are close with and explain what you are trying to achieve, or people you would like to meet.
Other options could include considering the events where they could be, establish a connection at an opportunity. Tex X, Meet Up, NetworX or Eventbrite list several groups, speaking events that you can attend and most are free.
- The 3 c’s – Connecting, Contact and Context
When first connecting with a new person, don’t be generic; place some context around why you want to connect. Allow them to know why you want to connect and don’t let the guess work up to them, give them the context.
Give them a compelling reason to wanting to meet with you or answer you back, you will be able to get these answers from tip 1, the knowing without being aggressive. Consider asking them for advice or show your interests in the area that they are working. Just remember it’s a two-way street when building relationships, it’s a bit of give and take.
- Do your homework
With the world of technology finding people and information is so much easier than generations ago. Use the internet, Google, social media and so on to see what they are doing, who they talk to, what their views are. Learn about what they do, who they already know (perhaps it’s already someone you know) and take the time to understand about the person. By being familiar a little bit about the person can be a great enabler for an ice-breaker when you decide to reach out and does make it easier for you to build trust straight away.
- Be true to yourself, but also know your audience
Humans connect with humans. Create a natural way of connecting that uses the right tones and messages that you want to use when speaking to someone for the first time. No one likes a straight-up sales pitch. Being human doesn’t mean not being professional, however, it can make you more authentic. Take into consideration the level of who you are speaking with, you might not talk in the same tones and languages to a CEO the same way you speak with your mates at the football. Remember the humanity but also, remember who you are talking with. Language is always important, take it seriously.