Building Relationships that Matter

Welcome to 2009! Many of us are happy to start the new year and bid farewell to 2008. A question to ask ourselves as we start 2009 is: what are you going to do this year that will make it a better year than the last one? I suggest that you start by examining your relationships with other people.

Building relationships take an investment of our time. I spent a lot of time with my family over the holidays. We don’t often have the opportunity to gather everyone together and we relish the time when it does take place. My son informed us that he has a new girlfriend in the last month – no wonder we haven’t heard much from him recently.

I’m also reading Keith Ferrazzi’s best seller “Never Eat Alone” again. I highly recommend it to those that are interested in reexamining the way they build relationships. Ferrazzi mentions six rules that are key to building meaningful relationships, especially applied to networking.

1. Don ‘t schmooze: have something meaningful to say or offer to others
2. Don’t rely on the currency of gossip: spreading gossip leads to distrust
3. Don’t come to the party empty-handed: be willing to give something to others, either of yourself or with your connections
4. Don’t treat those under you poorly: treat people with respect no matter what their position in life.
5. Be transparent: Deal straight with people and say what you mean.
6. Don’t be too efficient: Make genuine connections with people you can count on. It’s better to have a few connections that are meaningful than many that are superficial.

As Ferrazzi puts it, the bottom line of relationship building is cultivating trust in everyone. Now is a great time to think about how well you’re doing with building your relationships. Create a plan to improve any gaps you may have.

Bill and I wish for you to excel in 2009.