By Maureen Pearson
Managing Program Manager
Relationships are intertwined throughout our daily lives, including those with families, friends, acquaintances, coworkers and business associates. While we may consider our family and friends "easy" relationships to foster, we can use the same tools to grow our relationships in business.
In my years as a consultant and program manager, I have experienced both positive and negative relationships with customers. Some customers automatically take you in, hand over the reins and say, “Handle this. I don’t want to deal with it.” Others are more skeptical; they want partial ownership and have a hard time handing over control.
At projekt202, we know the key is finding the balance of gaining their trust, keeping them engaged and sharing ownership, while still managing closure. I have found if you treat people with respect, are reliable and honest, communicate, and pay attention to details, then you will build trust and dependability. These are the same characteristics we use to build our personal relationships and can prove helpful in cultivating meaningful business connections.
To foster successful relationships, I constructed a list of qualities I believe are important when building relationships to use. These are core values we strive for at projekt202 with our team members, leadership and clients. In my experience, they are the main ingredients for developing lasting connections, both personally and professionally.
Don't talk about business all the time. Show your interest in people’s careers, families and mutual hobbies. Start your interactions by asking, “How are you?” Keep track of topics they have brought up in the past and follow up with them. Everyone is impressed when you show you have taken the time to remember personal stories.
Make it a priority to show gratitude to others, especially when they have gone out of their way to do things for you. Remember to say “please,” “thank you” and “you’re welcome.” Recognition goes a long way and they will be more inclined to help you in the future.
When others assist you in getting your job done or solving a problem, keep them informed of how things are going and how they helped contribute to success. Illustrate that their participation was important and that you remember they helped you.
In all relationships, people deserve to know that your intentions are genuine. Treat everyone equally and with respect. Even in difficult situations, do not compromise; always be fair with praise and feedback.
Don’t panic or blame others when the going gets tough. If things are going off course, be honest, stick to facts and promote how the team is working to correct the issue. Being a positive team player reveals your true character. If things are falling apart around you and it’s not your fault, start working toward a solution rather than pointing fingers.
Part of developing trust is showing that you know how to be accountable. If you make a mistake, admit it. People understand that mistakes are made, but hiding them can cause undue damage to your relationships.
Be on time. It is disrespectful to others when you do not take their time seriously or believe it is less important than yours. Don’t miss meetings and don’t break promises. These mistakes can impact your relationships significantly. Your value is only as good as your word to both your colleagues and customers.
Pay complete attention in meetings.
Be aware that everyone’s time is valuable. Shut off your phone and close your laptop if it isn’t needed. Be present and conscious of what is being discussed. This shows respect for others and your commitment to participating in the meeting. You would be amazed what you learn and pick up on when you are fully engaged without distractions.
Mean what you say, say what you mean.
Be as transparent as you can, whether you are with work colleagues or with people in your personal life. People appreciate honesty. It builds trust. Be concise and forthright with information. Even with difficult news, if you build a relationship on being honest, people will trust what you say, whether it is good or bad.
Your reputation is your business card.
No matter where you are or who you are with, you are representing yourself. Always keep that in mind. If you speak poorly about people behind their backs, they will be wary that you may do the same to them. Your reputation follows your name. Be aware of your words and actions, and their effects on others.
Ultimately, incorporating personal touches into a business relationship allows people to know you are a genuine person. Many of us don’t think about how to mature meaningful connections. Relationships play a large part in governing job possibilities and business opportunities. Personal connections are essential to the success of any business.
Remember, engaging with others builds rapport when you incorporate consideration, respect and honesty. At projekt202, we believe these easy stepping stones lay the groundwork for lasting relationships with clients and coworkers.
projekt202 is the leader in experience-driven software design and development. We are passionate about improving the experiences that people have with enterprise and consumer digital touchpoints.