Over the last few months, I’ve written a fair number of articles about finance and personal investing. I believe that achieving financial security is one of the best ways to reduce stress in your life, as well as enjoy the best that the world has to offer. But there’s something that money can’t buy; good relationships. Finding people who support and teach you isn’t a five-minute job, and building strong relationships with those people is essential to making the most of life.
Creating and nurturing relationships is a skill that can seem almost mystical at times; we’ve all met that person who can breeze into a room and make dozens of lasting connections whilst we’re left stood on the side-lines feeling like chumps. These people stay connected, provide real value and create authentic, lasting relationships with the people around them. I’ve jotted down a few tips I’ve found help me in relationship-building – they’re not definitive but are a good starting point for building strong and lasting relationships.
1. Figure out who you already know.
Your network includes business colleagues, customers (both new and old), partners, suppliers, contractors, fellow association members as well as friends, family and old school friends. Take stock of who you already know – add them on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Try to find out a little about them (not to a creepy level, but helpful insights; everyone likes to be remembered on their birthday, for example).
2. Relationships require contact; make it a regular feature of yours.
Relationships can last for decades, or die a long, slow death. What makes the difference? Contact. No matter how charming you think you may be, no-one is going to remember you forever based off you handing them a business card or bumping into them in a lift. One of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to build strong relationships is their failure to follow up and communicate. Of course, I’m not saying you should be writing them your life story every week – but a quick text or email will help to reinforce your connection.
3. Be real – the digital world will keep relationships as an optional extra.
Build your reputation as someone who truly values people by meeting up face to face once in a while. It takes 30 seconds to send a text, but you’ll create a stronger and more lasting impression if you take the effort to meet face-to-face. Go for coffees, meet up for dinner, go to the theatre – live! I’ve always found it strange that people feel that they have to separate business and personal space – of course, I’m not advocating telling your boss the gossip from your weekend in Monaco, but rather that you share a similar approach to personal and business relationships.
4. Add value to your relationships.
I don’t know whether it’s sociopathy or psychopathy use those around you, but make sure that you’re giving back and adding value to those around you. If you only ever contact people when you need something, they’ll be quick to notice and start ignoring you. Pick up the tab once in a while, bring a gift, offer a solution to a problem they’re facing, and you’ll be well remembered in the future.
The art of building strong relationships is one which takes time and practise. I’ll be writing more on the topic in the future, having recently been inspired by someone who I considered to be a real master at it. Hopefully you enjoyed these tips, and if you have any thoughts; please leave a comment below!