Building Rewarding Relationships
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Regardless of how good we think we are, we are not islands, especially in our business lives. It may be possible to survive quite happily as a hermit (almost) if we are independently wealthy, or self sufficient with no need to work. If that is the case, you will probably never read this anyway!
Most of us, have to or want to, work. We want to get ahead, have a better quality and happier life. We want to provide for our families, and enjoy our friends. To do this we need to effectively interact with others, both socially and professionally.

Quality, lasting relationships come from a few consistent values. Without these values, we can only enjoy temporary relationships, with no intrinsic value. They may be based upon us having a powerful position, and others needing to please us, but the day we are no longer powerful we will be alone and with enemies. They may be based upon us being a 'poor me' kind of person who preys upon the kindness of others. They may be based upon how useful we are to each other, to achieve a purpose. None of these are really valuable or rewarding relationships.

So to create meaningful, long lasting relationships we need to embrace a few values.

We need to be able to listen, and as much as possible really listen actively, so that we remember the key elements of stories that are shared with us. Share the journey of our customers, friends and colleagues.
Listening is a value that is missing in our new world. We are so busy telling, that often we forget how much others value someone who can listen. This doesn't mean we cant tell our story, but it does mean we understand the view of others, or the needs of our customers. Your sales story is so much more powerful, if we understood the real pain of our customer, and could actually explain how we are part of their solution. You are so much more valuable as a friend, if you can hear the story of others without superimposing our judgement and opinion before we truly understand. Sometimes, there is only a need to listen or guide a friend to a solution by asking questions. They know the answer, they just need help to uncover it in their own thoughts. Often, listening is all that is required - we don not need to engage, or judge, or be involved any further - just listen.

We need to be respectful of the time of others. Everyone is busy in 2015. Ensure our messaging is relevant to the time and place we are in. Everyone has a different set of priorities, and your customer, colleague or friend is unlikely to share the same priority as yours. Try and plan ahead to achieve your objectives in business discussions, to the correct audience and time to deliver a message. Ensure the message is useful and meaningful and not waste the time of busy people. When you want to deliver a personal message, take the time to think about how you would like to hear such a message, ensure the audience only involves those it should, and be respectful of time. Check that you are not imposing an opinion when it is not being sought, and above all remove judgement of others. You do not walk in their shoes!

Remembering to take others with you, on your journey, rather than being surprised when their head is not with you when you reach your destination, is a powerful relationship builder.

The final important value to consider is to always remember to take time for those people who are important to you both personally and professionally. We can be so engaged in our lives that we forget to take time out to listen to those who have something they want to, or need to, share with us.
We actually are not as busy as we think we are!
It is always possible to find 30 minutes to call, message or email someone at an important time, to show them we do care. Use your agenda to remind you of important dates, if you can't be present at an important event then find a way to show you care. Tell them in advance, send flowers, call them, arrange something to show you care - that their priorities matter to you.

In summary, if the relationship is valuable to you, then show that value to the other party. Building relationships and networks, in business and personal life, is like building an arterial network of support for your dreams too. Great relationships are highly valued, and as they are exceptional, are something worth striving for.
Posted on 29 June 2015 by Terrie Anderson
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