Professional Relationship Building Tips for Small Business Owners

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Communication is essential in business, and relationships between employees, business partners and customers all need to be carefully nurtured to avoid complications.  It’s easy to say that communications don’t require any advanced thought since we communicate with other people every day instinctively on multiple levels, however, by sparing some brainpower to analyzing the way you interact with others, you can help strengthen already present bonds and build new bridges more easily down the road.

Be courteous, yet direct in your communications. When boiling down the most essential factors in business communication, politeness and being to the point are the base upon which finer techniques should be built. As a rule, no matter who you are dealing with, treat them as you would expect to be treated by another person. That being said, in the business world time equates with money and pleasantries need not be lingered on for an overly long amount of time. Those you will be communicating with will generally appreciate you getting right to the point, especially when relaying information that must be immediately acted on such as delegating an assignment or recounting the details associated with an important deal.

Demonstrate your investment in the relationship through positive gestures. What is meant by this is, show and don’t tell that you value the relationship by making an effort to be reachable when partners try to contact you, spending face time in person or over a video chat service, sending information when it is needed and treating the other party well. Corporate gift giving is an established tradition, as well as sharing potentially useful information or assets to strengthen the bonds between mutually self interested entities. Second to communication is action, so no matter how smooth your talk is, you won’t be able to build a strong relationship unless you back up your talk with some action.

Keep the flame alive. You may have fallen out of touch with some of the contacts you still value,  but this does not have to be the case. A quick letter or phone call to touch base during a lull in business to reaffirm a relationship can make it much easier to keep things going in the right direction when business does pick up. Keep everything within appropriate measure; you don’t have to write a book or recount everything that has happened to you when touching base, but you might want to mention two or three of the biggest developments in your business with your contacts to make sure you are still in their thoughts and they are up to speed on where things are moving for your business. It can be helpful to create a newsletter for these purposes, as it is a formally recognized way of keeping multiple contacts informed of your business’s growth.

Photo Credit to Chilean Bible Society on Flickr

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