Brighton Chamber: Five tips for building better relationships

Ric Hayden, learning and development consultant at Learning Cog
Ric Hayden, learning and development consultant at Learning Cog

We are not born with brilliant abilities to develop and build great relationships with others.

These skills are the ones we develop over many years and learn to master every day.

Our ability to develop relationships with others plays a large part in determining how successful we will be at work with our teams and more so with customers.

We can all become better relationship builders by taking some time to practise some simple techniques.

1. Become a listening Ninja

Most people have desire to be heard. When people say they are listening, they’re mostly waiting for their turn to speak and planning what they want to say next. When you find yourself doing this, take a deep breath and listen to what is being said. It’s okay not to have the answer straight away. Taking a few seconds to think about the answer shows much more respect for the other person.

2. Pay attention to who the person really is

When someone is talking with you, pay attention to everything about them. The tone of their voice, the words that they use, the body language and the pace of the conversation. What does this tell you about the person and their character?

3. Adjust your style

Our unconscious mind spends all day keeping us safe. One way our mind keeps us safe in relationships is to be drawn to what is like itself. We often find that we have a friendship group that all have similar interests, because we like what is like us. When building business relationships, we should adjust our style a little to match theirs. This improves communication and builds stronger relationships. Remember, just adjust slightly, don’t copy!

4. Remember the important stuff

People like it when you take an intertest in them. Remember things about them and talk about them in conversation. It really helps to break the ice and get to the good stuff in conversation. The number one thing to remember is someone’s name, then talk about hobbies and holidays or pets and family.

5. Keep in contact

One of the biggest things that happens in business is that we forget to keep in contact. The person sat next to you at work might be having a bad day and you would never know unless you build a good relationship and keep in contact during the day. We can all be guilty of getting our heads down and getting on with it. This is equally important with your customers. If you are not keeping in contact with them then someone else is!

Ric Hayden is learning and development consultant at Learning Cog, an independent leadership, management, sales training and development consultancy, which is a member of Brighton Chamber.

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