By Paul Smith, Co-founder and CEO //
Social media has made meeting people so easy. See a profile, click ‘add friend’, done! Friends forever. Right?
Wrong. As a society, we are losing the ability to properly connect with each other. Most of our interaction is done through technology, even networking, which can make it difficult to foster a strong relationship from the beginning, but you should be treating it like any other ‘real-life’ interaction. Would you walk up to someone on the street, silently hand them your business card and then walk away? No. So don’t make the mistake of thinking you can get away with it online. And if that is something you would do, then read on to find out how you can avoid superficial relationships and focus on achieving the real thing instead.
Start with the right mindset
We all know why it’s important to build strong relationships. As naturally social creatures, we have an inherent desire to be close to people whether it’s motivated by romantic, friendly, familial or business reasons. Whatever the cause, ensuring your relationships are positive and healthy can do wonders for just about anyone. What is not as well-known, though, is how to get strength in any relationship, and that knowledge is critical.
The best way to build a strong relationship is to start as you mean to go on, and with the right mindset. That might be a bit vague as far as advice goes, but it’s a simple notion. Begin any relationship from a strong point, if that’s how you want it to continue. As they say, you only get one chance at a first impression so keep that in mind next time you introduce yourself to someone.
Focus on “other” not “self”
To be a good partner in any relationship it’s important to be a giver, not a taker. Instead of focusing on what they can do for you, focus on what you can do for them. That might feel counterintuitive, but it’s one of the best ways to strengthen a relationship. If both parties are focusing on what they can do for the other, then both their best interests are being put first. It is a win-win situation.
A strong relationship is based on support. Having a network of people who believe in you is such a critical aspect of achieving your goals and being a better person. By having strong relationships, you have people who will be there for you to fall back on when you’re not feeling your strongest. These people will encourage you and celebrate your achievements when you reach them. But it goes both ways, you must support the people in your life too. You can do this in one really simple step: becoming a better listener. We all want to be heard, and encouraging people to talk freely without fear of judgment can build feelings of trust and support among everyone involved.
Building strong relationships will benefit you in all aspects of your life – even in the boardroom. Being a good listener, paying attention, remembering different thoughts and opinions and being able to successfully navigate the various attitudes and personalities that come with a board of directors is essential. This type of amicability and understanding is often a desired characteristic among aboard. It can encourage longevity of success in an organisation by promoting trust and a secure, stable environment among the directors.
A strong board makes a strong organization, and knowing how to build sturdy connections is an imperative part of being successful in a board career. So, if you’re lacking in substantial connections, it’s time to stop collecting names and start gaining better relationships instead.