7 Easy Tips to Get You Started on Relationship-Building

Here is the big secret to relationship-building and how to become the all-time master. Start first by learning to:

LISTEN. LISTEN. LISTEN.

Listen to what motivates the other person to connect with you. Surprise! Sorry, it’s not about what motivates you. Relationships don’t come for free, you really have to work at it. Even if you are not a natural or an introvert, you can shine here!

My suggestion? Follow these seven easy tips to get you started.

1. Block time out on your calendar once a week to just call people.

It’s old-school, but texting or connecting on LinkedIn is not replacement for this kind of work here. Nurture your network. Focus on followership if you are a leader. Recognize that power in your circle of relationships comes from establishing and maintaining trust.

2. Know the difference between Transactional and Reciprocity-based connections.

Remember, networks based on the most casual of connections will be overtly transactional. While transactional connections can at times be extremely powerful — mostly because both parties see the potential benefit — these types of connections shouldn’t be the only relationships you build. Add more reciprocity-based connections if you have too many transactional.

Reciprocity connections may sound like ‘you scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours,’ but really these types of connections are built on trust and depth. To reciprocate is to build professional success.

Reciprocity doesn’t mean giving up on your need or want for deeper connections; instead it means learning be the first one to offer, so that you will be reciprocated.

3. Next, offer your own “Know How.”

This is where you can offer any relevant analysis or access to knowledge that might be of value to the person in your network. If this person is senior than you, think about what kind of information that person might need to know and the best way to get if for them.

4. Share your own network or circle of connections.

Often you know people who can help those you may want to get to know. In other words, connect your connections. This can be especially helpful to those who are more senior than you.

By showing the wealth of knowledge offered by your connections, you prove your value to those around you.

5. Lend an ear or your time.

This is where you can be a good sounding board, and if candor permits, be honest with those in your organization. Just remember you are there to offer your ear and time by being a good listener. If and when you decide to communicate what you think, do it with kindness.

6. Show your resourcefulness.

This is where you can get creative and let your imagination roam. If you know someone who needs help with a presentation and you are a PowerPoint or Google slides whiz, offer that person some resourceful tips. By offering your resourcefulness, others will be more likely to reciprocate the gift of your help.

7. Leave an open door.

This is equally a valuable act of reciprocity.

Even when you don’t have the gift of helping with something specific, simply letting a person know you are available to help can be compelling.

Be sure to use it when you are out of other ideas.

These seven tips should get you started on building relationships, even if you are hesitant to put yourself out there. Remember, when you give yourself a big reason to meet people (like your career or happiness), the sooner you can become engaged and start enjoying yourself. And using reciprocity on a regular basis will have you connecting sooner as well!