People like to say business isn’t personal, but it is personal.
All of life is people personally interacting with other people. Work is people interacting with people but with money and title attached to it. (Personal, in this post, doesn’t mean inappropriately intimate; you needn’t border on sexting.)
Every interaction in business has the potential to build connections that can positively impact your career, workplace, and job satisfaction.
Effective leaders know the importance of connections in business and make intentional efforts to build them through their everyday interactions.
The Importance Of Connections in Business
Strong connections in business benefit you and your organization. From an organizational standpoint, employees who have strong relationships with each other at work will enjoy work more and will want to be there. It is a powerful antidote to a toxic work environment.
From an individual standpoint, building connections helps you influence others in a positive way. As simple as it may be, a warm comment, friendly smile, and positive interaction can do more for your reputation than a successful project.
When you connect with other people well, they will feel noticed, valued, and heard. They will then be more likely to go the extra mile for you, more likely to listen to you, and more likely to think you are smart.
How To Connect In Business
Connect human to human, not role to role, or gadget to gadget, or mano to monitor.
If you genuinely connect on a human level, you more quickly connect on a business one. Again, this doesn’t need to be inappropriate, but it should be genuine and warm. When you express a real interest in the other person, you will be remembered and appreciated.
The key is to be the one to initiate. Don’t wait for others to come up to you and start talking.
They are most likely waiting for someone to come talk to them first (and they may even be more nervous than you are). Instead, find the courage to start talking first. Even if the initial conversation doesn’t turn into a life-long connection, it will be worth it.If you genuinely connect on a human level, you more quickly connect on a business one. Make Business Personal: The Importance Of Connections In Business Click To Tweet
Years ago, I saw an older woman standing outside a seaside restaurant in Malaga, Spain. She was dressed head to toe in a perfectly tailored aqua colored pantsuit and seemed to be waiting for someone to join her. She had sunglasses on her head and (likely) an Hermes scarf draped across one shoulder.
To this awkward-feeling college girl on spring break, she looked the epitome of grace, confidence, and comfortableness with her happy facial expression, erect posture, and poised demeanor.
After patiently waiting, an equally dapper young man joined her (I’m assuming her son) and gentlemanly escorted her to their table. She listened to him earnestly, touched his arm occasionally, spoke with enthusiasm, and laughed easily. I thought to myself, “that’s what I want to be like when I get older.”
Today, I am that older woman. Sometimes young women in my audience come up after a speech and say, “I hope I look like you when I’m your age.” It makes me feel good.
And then I feel regret that I did not compliment that woman I saw in Malaga those many years ago. I was seated right beside her; I could have leaned over and said, “You’re a striking woman. You’re what I want to look like when I get older.”
Today if I see someone who makes me want to compliment him or her, I do it immediately and clearly, because I don’t want to miss the chance to make someone feel good. It takes such little effort to maintain someone’s self esteem, and the payoff is so great for both of you.
Ask Questions…And Then Listen To The Answers
Once you’ve initiated contact, how do you start making connections in business?
Who, what , when, why, and how are good words to use. Your tone must be one of honest interest and sincere inquisitiveness, not interrogation.
Get to know the person behind the computer or the cell phone.
Simply ask the person about his or her interests, goals, and objectives…with one important caveat. You have to actually listen and remember what he or she said.
The goal is to express genuine interest in the other person, which means you should pay close attention to what they are saying. Practice active listening – don’t let your mind wander. After the conversation is over, you can jot down a couple of notes about what they said to help you remember, but this will be easier if you are listening intently.
Later, bring up the conversation again. Not to show off your great memory, but to let them know that you valued them enough to listen and remember.
Speak Up And Share About Yourself Too
Volunteer information about yourself as you ask about others, especially if it relates to them. The more common ground you find, the better. Every conversation, add a little bit more connection between you aside from the business purpose.
Go The Extra Mile
Find out, make note, and remember names of spouses, children, hobbies, and things going on in the person’s life. Remembering a small thing like a company anniversary, promotion, birthday, child’s name or interest will put you miles ahead of others.
Tips For Connecting With Shy Or Untrusting People
Some hesitate to volunteer personal information or hang back when asked. They are not sure yet as to whether they can trust you. Don’t stop trying to connect.
Over time they will learn they can trust you. Even if they hesitate, inquire anyway. Give your own answer to the questions you ask of him or her, even if he or she doesn’t ask. Provide it nonetheless. You make it easy for the other person to get to know you and therefore be more open with you
Succeeding In Business Is All About Making Connections
At the end of the day, your success isn’t just about how smart, hardworking, or good-looking you are. You don’t decide when you get a promotion, other people do. Your ability to connect with them in a positive, meaningful way will set you apart from the competition and will help you build a reputation as an effective leader.
New Book Available Now
Order at Amazon or wherever books are sold.