Making influential connections at work is significant to the success of both you and your team. When we think of the word “connections” relative to our careers, we often relate it to networking and making superficial contacts with acquaintances. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having acquaintances in business. In fact, having those types of contacts is actually a necessity. However, many people in today’s world are overlooking the importance of making deeper, more influential connections with their colleagues and their customers.
There are many benefits of getting to know your colleagues on a more personal level. By spending more time with your team, you get to know how they “work” and how they function. You will have a better understanding as to why they do the things they do and you will have more empathy for them. You will know the best way to help them when they need it and they will know the best way to help you. Everybody is different and everybody learns differently. You will learn each person’s unique abilities and differences. Most importantly, you will all develop a deeper level of trust and respect for one another.
In addition to forming bonds with your colleagues, it is just as important to form relationships with your customers. Too many people leave their relationships with customers at surface level. Customer relationships should always be something to be improved upon and cared for and should be fostered into long term friendships.
There is always room for improvement when it comes to building relationships in our professional lives. Check out these tips on how to create more influential connections in the workplace.
- Plan a night for the team. Sometimes the best way to bond with your coworkers is by doing something fun outside of the office. Forget about the stresses of the daily grind, go grab a bite to eat, a few drinks or go out for a game of pool! Get to know each other outside of the walls of the office.
- Hold team building events. Plan in-office team building events to build trust, encourage communication, build upon strengths, and improve upon weaknesses. Team building exercises should be held on a consistent basis, should be fun, and should always have an end-goal in mind.
- Make an honest effort to be more open. We all fall into the trap of comfortability. We tend to stick to the people we know and are comfortable with and shy away from people who are different from us. The trouble with that is, the people who are most different from us typically have the most to offer us! When we branch out and spend time with people from different walks of life, we learn so much more and open ourselves up to new opportunities. Step out of your comfort zone and meet new people!
- Follow up on connections. Have you ever met someone at a networking event who you really hit it off with? The conversation was just flowing and you had so much in common and you really wanted hang out with that person again. Then, you never called or emailed because that’s kind of weird to do as an adult? The chances are that you probably exchanged information if it was at a networking event. So, why not take the chance and send an email or make a call and ask to meet up for lunch or a game of golf, (or whatever it is that you two had in common)? The chances are, the other person will be happy to meet for an adult play date! There you have it- another potential connection! Sometimes we just have to get out of our own way.
- Truly invest in your customers. Understand that your customers are people with whom you need to develop great relationships with, as well. Your customers need to feel as though you have their best interest at heart. Devote enough of your time to giving them a the best experience you can, and your relationship with them will develop naturally.
Taking the time to develop powerful relationships in your professional life really doesn’t take much effort, but the payoff is invaluable. Follow these simple tips and you, your team and your customers will feel the benefits in no time!