Before the collapse of Wall Street you would have rarely read an article in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times Business Section, SUCCESS Magazine or any other serious business publications discuss the importance of “soft skills” and relationship building. The past few years have seen the topic of “soft skills” and relationship building appear more frequently because companies are increasingly more cognizant of the value of developing and sustaining relationships with both their clients/customers and their employees.
Facebook was in competition with Google to acquire WhatsApp. A main reason WhatsApp chose Facebook over Google is because the CEOs of Facebook and WhatsApp had developed a relationship while hiking together over the past few years. What more proof could one possibly need to believe the ability to build relationships is tantamount to success in business (and life)?
Following are 4 easy steps to increase your “soft skills” for relationship building in your business.
Ask people about themselves. Most people love to talk about themselves. Therefore, when you are at work, on a business trip or communicating electronically with clients and colleagues, ask them about themselves before launching into a business conversation. People will much prefer to talk about themselves, their kids, their hobbies etc., than hear anything you have to say about yourself or life. In Dale Carnegie’s classic book: How to Win Friends and Influence People, he discusses “6 Ways to Make People Like You.” One is to “become genuinely interested in other people,” and another is to “be a good listener." Therefore, encourage others to talk about themselves. Since most people like to tell stories and be heard, your interest in listening makes you a person people enjoy being around. Isn’t it true we prefer to do business with people we know and like?
SMILE. This technique for building positive relationships with others cannot be any simpler. While smiling, make sure you are not complaining. No one wants to work with or spend time with people who complain. People prefer to be with positive happy people, not whiners.
Be Respectful of others and their opinions. Unless it adds value to the conversation, keep your criticisms to yourself. Dale Carnegie wrote: “Show respect for the other person’s opinions. Refrain from saying: “You’re wrong.” It only puts people on the defensive. Nobody wants to be around a “know-it-all.”
Be Positive and look at the glass as half full. Give people the benefit of the doubt when things go wrong and try to find the good even in a bad situation. Who doesn’t want to be around people who are the eye in the calm of the storm?
The four tips written above will help you develop positive relationships with those you work with – and those you live with!
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