Whether you work remotely or in the office, the ability to connect well with others is an essential skill. When done effectively, creating authentic relationships allows business to run smoothly. There are a variety of methods to ensure this process is approached in a beneficial way for both parties.

Before meeting: Approach from a place of generosity. While it’s easy to seek out connections because of what the other person can do for you, it’s crucial to have the opposite mindset when building professional relationships. Find something of value you can bring to the other person. Do your due diligence and find their personal, professional, or philanthropic pursuits. Connect them to a potential client or someone who might help leverage their business. Everyone has special interests and it usually doesn’t require much digging to uncover.

While meeting: Instead of starting a conversation by asking for help, pitch an idea or summarize your work experience and lead by asking open-ended questions. Then, sit back and actively listen. Rather than talking about your own interests and what you want, the goal is to get to know the other person as much as possible. Demonstrate you are listening by contributing input when appropriate, but allow the other person to chat as much as they’d like.

We all have an innate ability to sense when someone is putting on a facade, slathering on compliments, or coming from a place of insecurity. When you are present, encouraging, and poised, the other person will feel comfortable as well. Take note of anything they speak about passionately and follow up with thoughtful questions. The conversation will be invigorating and memorable rather than draining or interminable.

After meeting: Follow up and follow through. Sending a handwritten thank you note is a highly effective way to build rapport. Reference something that stood out to you from the conversation; It’s a compliment to know your words stuck with someone. Remember, coming from a place of authenticity is one of the most important aspects of building relationships.

Become the type of person you’d like to meet. Deliver substance and add value as much as possible. Allow others to feel heard and convey appreciation. Being generous with your time, attention, and listening skills will go a long way in cultivating your relationships.

Acknowledge people’s efforts
Thank people
Forget about title and status
Create a foundation
Leverage your relationships with networking
Collaboration is contagious

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