A Question about Building Relationships

This post focuses on building relationships through communication. Simple relationship building steps can be applied to any setting, both professional and personal.

A colleague of mine who is now really a friend, as I worked with them for several years, asked me a question. The question was about how I tend to build trust in relationships. Their statement was that they realized that people have admired me in the past and inquired what I did to build those relationships. I thought about what they said and it really made me think about HOW I build relationships in person on an everyday basis with individuals in my personal life as well as what I tend to do when I work with individuals in an organization or company. It is fairly simple initially. I start off with a listening ear. It’s something that we don’t always take the time to do. When I think about building relationships or consulting, it is really valuable that we do it. I am not by any means a perfectionist as it relates to listening. I know myself that if I’m in a comfortable enough situation I can find myself interrupting or finishing a sentence, instead of practicing my patience the way that I would expect others to. I too get carried away. If we are truly doing it right, then we are listening to understand. You know there’s a phrase that covers this and it is listening to understand and not to respond. What is really important is that we are taking the time to listen and understand others. This can make a huge difference in relationships. 

I would encourage you to try that as a method in your communication. Yet, that is only the first thing— listening to understand. Next, I am listening to understand, and also realizing that I am a person who wants to provide value to others. I am looking for how I can provide that value to this person or to an organization based on their needs or desires. It is truly just understanding if there are any gaps for an organization. Or, in the case of person, is there something that they feel that they need more support with or how can I help them think about their matter from another perspective to attain their goal. 

Taking notes is another strategy that I use during communication. If I formally or informally take notes, I’m able to capture as much as I can from the conversation, or specific words used, and think about what is it that this person is really asking of me or sharing with me. When there is someone else that has more technical know-how, being able to point them to the more appropriate resource continues to add value. Finally, following up, taking action, and encouragement of their personal commitments to take action all fall into my style in building relationships. It’s not always about me taking action it may be things that they could do or they should do, and so it is also about establishing next steps in that conversation. What matters again is that it is a benefit for them and not me. Otherwise, it is my own perceived value versus true value. 

All of our experiences shape who we are, how we communicate and how we might influence others. For me personally, some of this comes from my upbringing. Other experiences are a result of some of the companies that I have worked for– even as a teenager. Trust that was extended to me from managers and in different businesses definitely shaped my character. No matter what, I believe that we all pull from those things that have impacted our lives and we choose what actions to take with it.

Whether it is for one’s personal life or for their career, always think about “How does what you choose to do”, impact the life of someone else, contribute to that person, company, organization, church, community and/or situation. Hopefully, this helped someone. I really was excited to share this and I love the question that I received from my colleague. It truly caused me to consider the value that I may bring to others and what matters most. Take care.

I would love to hear your feedback! Feel free to send me a message.

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