5 Relationship Building Tips for Business Owners
Hey there! I was recently asked by the wonderful Christina Jones of Christina Jones Photography to collaborate on a blog & Instagram Live on the topic of #communityovercompetition. You can check that blog out here. I enjoyed the opportunity so much and the ladies who were engaging with our IG Live were complimentary of the tips, so I figured if they were finding them helpful then creating a blog with those tips so more women can utilize them would be a great next step. So here we go, babes!
One of my most important relationship building lessons came from the 90’s movie ‘Loser’ when the main character's father gave him advice before going to college. The advice was “interested is interesting.” That might sound like cheesy advice, but it's actually extremely helpful. The only way to be a good storyteller, a good friend, or good at making connections is to be a good listener.
I’ve been an Introvert my whole life, so I’ve had to work hard and make it a point of going outside of my comfort zone to say hello to someone I didn’t know and start conversations out of thin air. I’ve had my fair share of awkwardness, but I’ve really enjoyed making connections with awesome people during my career.
I've put together some helpful tips that you can use at your very next networking event or the next time you pop into a Facebook group for you! Here are those five easy to remember tips, babes. Have fun building relationships (and ultimately, your community)! If you have any questions don’t hesitate to reach out in the comments or send an email. Stay boss. xx -G
1 // Practice makes perfect.
It's important to establish a routine, so make note of some local networking events that you can attend on a regular basis and of some Facebook groups for you to get involved in. One two networking groups and one to two Facebook groups is a good amount to start with.
Pro Tip: Are you a graphic designer? Search for FB groups geared towards designers. Are you in the wedding industry? Search for FB groups geared towards your industry. You can always try FB groups (and in person events) out for a bit and see how you feel.
2 // Be in the moment.
It's so crucial to focus on the person in front of you that you're currently speaking with and getting to know. Don't get caught up on trying to meet too many people in one evening or trying to get to know every single person in a Facebook group. Set a goal for yourself ahead of time. Decide that you’re going to meet at least one new person and stay in touch with them at the event you're going to. It's not a numbers game, but I think it is helpful to choose a goal that you can accomplish.
3 // Make the person you're talking to feel great.
Maya Angelou's quote of “People will forget what you did, people will forget what you said, but people will never forget how you made them feel,” is both a wonderful quote and something that's really helpful to remember when you're building relationships. They will remember that you made them feel at ease and welcome in that room and the connection you made will be stronger. The way that you do this is two things.
The first is to say their name when you're talking to them. Not only will you remember their name (which in the long-term will earn you an unofficial brownie point), but by saying someone's name during the conversation it communicates to them that you are actually listening and in the moment and cause them to feel more invested in the conversation. Also, the second part of this tip is to complement them. It’s really hard to create a connection out of thin air, but complimenting them will give you an easy place to begin. A genuine complement on their hair, clothing, or accessory gets you going on a subject and then from there you can ask where they're from, what they do for living, or even what's something they're currently working on.
4 // Be genuine.
There’s that word again! It’s an important one. Building a relationship takes time and energy and patience. It's crucial to mean what you say and to ask questions that you truly want to know the answers to. Someone will be able to tell whether or not you're being genuine and you can't build a relationship based on respect and trust if there's no authenticity there at the start.
5 // Follow up.
When you're busy being in the moment (like tip number two says!) it's vital to do just that– be in the moment and focus on the conversation. However, when you've reached the end of that conversation, you’re going to want to think about how you can extend that relationship beyond that initial chat. So, work in a way to follow up! Ask them if an email would be the best way to stay in touch. Another option is to follow them on Instagram and send them a DM thanking them for the chance to get to know them. Sending a follow message of some kind is a great way to stay involved and in touch with that person and their story. You never know what kind of magic you can create together in the future!