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How to build professional relationships that last 

Human interaction is a key and majorly unavoidable aspect of life. If you can make yours count, you are on your way to a big, bright, and beautiful future. You must learn to establish strong connections if you hope to fast-track your career, business, or any other undertaking for that matter.  

Relationship building is an art that requires mindfulness, finesse, intentionality, and continuous investment. It’s a crucial skill that often demands a deal of practice to cultivate.  

Like a milking stool, a solid professional relationship rests on three legs: Trust, respect, and communication. You must seek to nurture each aspect in all of your encounters – Be it with your colleagues in the workplace, with a prospect you’re chasing, when you land a new client, and even when you meet someone who shares your ideals or who is currently in a position you would like to attain someday. 

It might take time to secure the foundations of a sustainable relationship. It could be months or years in the making before you start reaping the fruits. Thus, patience is a virtue you need to accommodate by all means. Never presume to receive immediate benefit, otherwise, your actions would blow up in your face. And you end up repelling instead of attracting people.  

Here’s what you must do: 

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1. Leave a memorable impression 

The first impression always sticks. Make it count. In order to get your foot in the door and get the chance to kick off the relationship, you must make yourself positively memorable in the first encounter. If possible, do some homework and learn as much as you can about the other person before you meet them.  

2. Learn empathy  

It pays more to give than to seek to receive. To build trust, make it your second nature to focus more on other people’s needs and interests. That’s a sure way to gain their attention and capture their hearts.  

If it feels like you have nothing to give think again. You can give of your time, lend a listening ear, be kind, and be honest when it matters. Basically, do anything to make the person feel important and appreciated. You’d be surprised how far you can go when you quit being self-serving and turn people-centric. Being considerate makes people inclined to give you what you want eventually.  

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3. Seek opinions 

Asking for someone’s opinion shows that you value their views. And they will be more than willing to share as it raises their ego. However, ensure that you’re not extending a shallow courtesy. Your solicitations should be genuine. And try to use what they have offered. Don’t ask for a person’s opinion when you know that you don’t need it. People will lose all respect for you when they realize that you’re not being real with them.  

4. Respect boundaries 

Remember that professional relationships are distinct from personal relationships. It is, therefore, essential that you maintain a good level of professionalism. This could mean staying accountable, being reliable and trustworthy, exceeding expectations, showing consistency, and comporting yourself with dignity. Avoid behaviors that will introduce unwanted tension and awkwardness in the relationship.  

5. Know how to listen 

There’s a difference between paying attention and just waiting for your turn to talk. Listening allows you to respond effectively. You’re able to build on what the other person has said and thus keep the conversation smooth and balanced. Also, listening well gives you insight into how the other person thinks and operates. People love a good listener. It will make them drawn to you. You’ll be the first person they’d always want to come to. 

6. Assume an air of positivity 

Avoid giving off negative energy. It’s highly repellent. Your presence should make people feel good. That alone can make them willing to take action and also want to be around you. Always keep things light. Be enthusiastic and good-natured.  

7. Acknowledge your weaknesses and project your strengths 

You cannot forge meaningful relationships by claiming to be what you are not. A degree of vulnerability can be forgiven and even appreciated, as opposed to being intentionally deceitful and misleading. Recognizing and admitting to your weaknesses not only gives you the chance to improve and grow, but also allows you to zero in on your strengths. 

Mingle with people and make them want to speak your name in a room full of opportunities. Just a few words from the right lips and you may find yourself reaching new undreamt-of heights.  

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