The Power of Connection: 3 Ways to Build Relations
August 15, 2019
I don’t know anyone who has been able to succeed in their career without making and developing strong connections and relationships. Sure, we all know someone who has been promoted, maybe more than once, despite being terrible at relationship building. However, in the end, those folks usually don’t rise to the top, they don’t build a coalition of folks under and around them, they often reside on their personal island.
It is the process of building connections and forging relationships that helps us succeed and grow in our careers.
There are three ways you can turn a meeting, an introduction, etc. into a connection:
- Move beyond the hellos and nice to meet yous – find out what shared interests you may have. Does the person work in the same sector? Are they also at the same point in their career? Are they also transitioning to a new position? Are they also new to the company?
- Get contact information and follow-up – send an email and add something personal, such as “I enjoyed talking with you about the challenges you are facing as you transition to a new CRM.”
- Take the next step – suggest a follow-up meeting. This will give you a chance to dive deeper forging the way to building a relationship
How do you turn a connection into a relationship?
- Offer your help – this may not be an immediate option, but if you are in a position to help, then do so. This could entail introducing them to one of your contacts or offering to read a proposal and provide comments.
- Maintain contact – while it takes two to Tango, you may need to initiate more contact initially until the relationship begins to gel, and that’s fine. Just be careful not to overstep and be aware of cues and step back if necessary.
- Share information – if you come across an article that might be of interest to one of your connections, share it with them. Years ago, I worked for a man was incredible at maintaining relationships because he constantly shared information and his connections very much appreciated his thought and effort. Thus, when he called and asked for their support, advice, or assistance, they never hesitated.
The power of connection can be incredible. You have no idea who you might meet today and what kind of impact that person can have on your life or your career, but you must be open to establishing the connection. Someone you meet on the train, at an event, in a meeting, etc. today, could tomorrow introduce you to the person who hires you for that position you have been working towards.
But building connections comes with a price! You cannot expect to be only on the receiving end. Like any relationship, there is give and take that over time must be relatively balanced. You must work to establish the connection and build the relationship over time, you cannot expect it to ever produce more than you are willing to put into it.
Anne Converse Willkomm
Assistant Clinical Professor
Department Head of Graduate Studies