For the past several weeks, I’ve been reflecting on the role of relationships in building an empire. The importance of having a life partner on the same page is undeniable. But how can you make a professional relationship just as powerful as a personal one?
If there’s anything I’ve learned over the years, it’s that you can’t build an empire alone.
You need family members who honor your aspirations. Ride-or-die friends who double as your biggest cheerleaders. A right-hand person you can trust to delegate your weaknesses to while celebrating your strengths.
However, your Royal Court and Counsel also require long-lasting connections in the business realm.
I’m talking about success-driven, career-focused, high-flying overachievers. The people you can see yourself doing business with in the near future. These are the like-minded individuals you need to strengthen your empire.
Some of your current co-workers might be among them. Maybe even that business influencer you’ve been interacting with on social media.
Regardless, your mission is to identify and add the greatest people to your professional network.
This reminds me of what I recently wrote about the power of networking with other women. It’s important to note here that this is just a piece of professional relationship building. Today, I’ll be walking you through the entire long-term process.
But I want to take a moment to clarify something people often get mixed up…
What Is the Difference Between a Professional Relationship and a Personal Relationship?
To prepare for writing this article, I took a deep dive into the specifics of business connections.
As I was researching, I noticed how so many weren’t clear on the difference between types of relationships.
While both professional and personal relationships share the idea of human connection, here’s how the two stand out individually…
|Career-oriented||Strong social component|
|More formal encounters||More intimate in nature|
|Mutual goal fulfillment||Some may not have any goals|
|Business partner outlook||Family and best friends|
However, these distinctions don’t mean that personal connections can’t become professional ones, and vice versa.
The key here is to know the role of each partner in your greater empire.
Right before I share my techniques for fostering meaningful relationships in business, let’s touch on their purpose…
Why Are Business Relationships So Important to Build and Expand?
From business owners to aspiring entrepreneurs, employees, and job seekers, everyone should cultivate professional connections.
No matter where you are in your career, the time to work on building relationships is now. Grant says it best… “Your network is your net worth.”
If you’re in an office job, good working relationships could lead to business venture opportunities.
If you already own a company, you never know who could be your next partner for expansion.
And if you feel stuck in your professional life, struggling to figure out your next move… one connection could change everything for you.
The bottom line is you have nothing to lose by devoting time to relationship building skills.
Of course, not every interaction will result in a business partnership. If anything, the process will help you develop self-awareness, become a better listener, and identify opportunities.
In any case, you can’t sit back and expect these opportunities to appear out of thin air. You have to create them. Work for them. Meet new people, collaborate, try, learn, and repeat.
This is how to do it…
7 Powerful Tips to Develop Relationship Building Skills
The tips I’m about to share with you aren’t one-off tasks. And you shouldn’t cherry-pick the strategies either…
For the best results, use a combination of all the techniques below on a regular basis. And take things to the next level by adding your own insights along the way.
You see, professional development — including relationship building — is a continuous work-in-progress. The more you take action, the more connections you’ll make.
To expand your empire with valuable partnerships, follow these steps…
1. Build Trust
While trust is a two-way street, you need to do everything in your power to inspire mutual respect.
Gaining authentic trust won’t be easy, especially in a work environment. Quite the contrary…
TRUST IS A LONG-TERM COMMITMENT.
In this regard, your first encounter is essential. How are you showing up when meeting this person? Warm, open, welcoming? Or closed off and uninterested?
As you progress from acquaintances to a professional relationship in the making, do your best to embody these qualities:
The traits above represent the what. Now, for the how…
2. Sharpen Communication Skills
Communication and trust go hand in hand. You can’t have the genuine version of one without the other.
Giving advice, feedback, or tips will always help… when solicited. Yet in the context of nurturing a professional relationship, active listening is everything.
In other words, you should hear the other person out more than you speak. And when you do talk, don’t interrupt, switch subjects, or shift the conversation towards your needs.
This brings me to all the benefits which come with altruism…
3. Give to Get
In business and in life, generosity will get you far. When you’re making a long-term commitment to professional relationships, the act of giving becomes even more critical.
Whether you’re at work, a lunch meeting with a client, or exchanging ideas at a networking event…
BE OF SERVICE WITHOUT EXPECTING ANYTHING IN RETURN.
Earlier on, I covered the differences between relationships in your personal life and your professional one.
However, here is where the foundations overlap.
To be a good friend, you should strive to give more than you receive. The same goes for business partnerships.
Share the resources which have helped you the most. Make that introduction to help get their foot in the door. It won’t cost you a dime, but it will strengthen your relationship tenfold.
The question now is… How can you meet these people in the first place?
4. Network In Person & Online
Although I’ve touched on networking, I had to come back and highlight its importance. Sparking and maintaining a professional relationship would be impossible without it.
The secret here is to leverage all the networking opportunities which come your way.
Attend industry events to connect… not to gossip over drinks.
Use social media as a tool… not as a distraction.
EVERY OPPORTUNITY IS WHAT YOU MAKE OF IT.
It’s up to you to unlock the potential which comes with each interaction. And when you do, here’s where the real work takes place…
5. Cultivate Partnerships
By now, I’m sure you realize you’re in this for the long run. A professional relationship is an ongoing process, with no concrete end.
If you don’t continue to invest in the connection, it will fizzle out just as quickly as it lit up…
To get to the point where this individual trusts you enough to do business together, you need to put in the work:
- Follow-up right after meeting them
- Catch up after a week or two
- Check in regularly to see how they’re doing
- Congratulate them on career milestones
- Wish them happy holidays, happy birthday, etc.
At a glance, all these interactions could seem like a lot. Over time, they’ll become second nature as you develop an authentic partnership.
6. Embrace Positivity
Would you rather spend your time around someone who is constantly complaining…
Or a person who radiates optimism in any situation?
I hate to break it to you, but life is hard for everyone. Yes, even for the successful, rich, and famous.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AVERAGE PEOPLE AND EMPIRE BUILDERS LIES IN MINDSET.
In business, positivity inspires confidence, reliability, and resilience. It brings you back to square one, with the very trust required for all this to work.
Overall, if you persist with a can-do attitude, there’s no limit to the potential of your professional relationship.
7. Commit to Relationship Development
Now, you might be wondering, “How do you maintain a professional relationship?”
Time, energy, and effort are all must-haves…
Yet the single most influential factor for a successful business relationship is commitment.
Commit to every stage of the partnership. Staying in touch, communicating with no ego, giving without expectations.
Commit to educating yourself on relationships even more. The upcoming BAE Mastermind on this topic could help you in this direction.
And through it all, commit to reaching and surpassing even your wildest business goals… with the right people by your side.
Build an Empire,
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