A Simple Approach to Relationship Building
Relationship building feels like a pain in the butt when your schedule is packed with deadlines. But a healthy relationship makes life better.
A simple approach to relationship building:
#1. Begin with basic questions.
- “Where did you grow up?”
- “When was the first time you earned a paycheck?”
- “What do you like to do when you’re not working?”
- “Which family member are you most like?”
- “What’s your favorite holiday?”
Look for common ground. Share a bit of yourself. When you don’t chime in, people wonder what you’re after. Trust is built with shared stories.
#2. Follow answers with questions.
Surprise people by asking a second question. Most people don’t listen. You let people know you’re interested in them when you resist the urge to talk about yourself.
- “What do you do?” leads to…
- “How did you get into that?”…
- “What makes you good at that?”…
- “When did you realize you loved doing that?”…
- “How did you get good at that?”…
- “What advice would you give me if I wanted to get better at doing that?”…
- “What’s next for you?” (Be sure to include, “For you.”)
#3. Sprinkle affirmations throughout conversations.
- “That’s interesting.”
- “I think I know what you mean.”
- “Wow. That’s wonderful.”
- “I’d love to know more about that.”
- “I never thought of that.” (Let people know they taught you something.) An alternative is, “I never thought of it that way.”
- Ask questions people love to answer.
- Follow-up by asking a second question. The second question is more powerful than the first.
- Never pretend you’re something you’re not.
- Be easily impressed.
- Notice the interests of others.
- Watch for people to light up. Go with it.
- Acknowledge discoveries.
Warning: Don’t solve people’s challenges without an invitation. Relationship building is about connecting, not fixing.
Best tip: Show up to learn.
What questions might help people build relationships?
What relationship-building advice do you suggest?