9 Proven Ways to Build a Better Professional Relationship

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It was easy to make friends when we were kids. If someone looked like they wanted to play, you’d just ask if they wanted to join your group.

You could organize everything from a soccer game to a new version of tag with hardly any effort.

When you work on building or maintaining a professional relationship, it would be nice if things were that easy. Your networking efforts require work, time, and a specific strategy.

How to Start Working on Professional Relationships Today

Whether you’re focused on direct networking or an online approach, these proven methods can help you achieve the results you want while building positive relationships.

1. Work on your communication skills.

It is almost impossible to have a professional relationship without communication skills. Far too often, these conversations tend to be one-sided. Instead of listening to what the other person says, we anxiously wait for a moment to interrupt with an opinion.

Try to slow down when speaking. It helps to ask questions to ensure you’re on the same page. Communication issues tend to be at the heart of most workplace issues, including productivity problems, increased stress, and low morale.

2. Offer respect before getting it.

Most people cannot tolerate blatant disrespect. It doesn’t matter whether you’re at work, shopping for groceries, or speaking with a life partner. This negative energy sets off a cascade of adverse events that can destroy a professional relationship.

If you treat others in the way you’d want to be treated first, you’ll put in the cornerstone for the foundation of the professional relationship. It helps to be kind, courteous, and conscious of your time commitments.

3. Find your empathy.

A professional relationship doesn’t need to prove that you’re better than others. When you can tap into your empathy, it helps you understand how someone else feels. This process isn’t always easy, especially if you might have wronged someone, but it also offers opportunities to be supportive.

4. Celebrate your accomplishments.

Instead of being envious when someone has a triumphant moment, congratulate them on the success they earned. Jealousy destroys professional relationships quickly, and that outcome creates team problems that can drag an entire organization down with it.

If you show genuine interest and approach relationships authentically, you’ll find that this collaboration can produce mutually beneficial results.

5. Ask people for their opinions.

We network with others because we want to get different perspectives on the issues or problems we face. Diversity delivers more skills, experience, and knowledge to make it easier to find the best solution.

Instead of emailing everyone about your concerns, try to reach out to someone with the experience to offer relevant advice. If someone does the same, give them whatever opinions you can to help them out.

6. Grab some coffee.

When you want to build rapport with other professionals, it’s often better to step outside the workplace to get to know each other. You could meet for coffee at a specific time, have lunch together, or have a non-formal meeting at a place you both like.

Even if it’s only for a couple of minutes to chat, you’ll find that investing this time makes a lot of sense.

7. Take care of your housekeeping.

It doesn’t take much for the time to get away from you during the day. When you have a few days in a row that demand your attention in specific ways, those connections you’ve made can degrade because there isn’t much attention given to them. Although you don’t need to go through the entire list, it can help to check in with a quick call or email.

It might take some time for people to get back to you. If you don’t hear something after a couple of days, give them some space instead of suggesting coffee. Once a week passes, then a follow up conversation attempt might be helpful.

8. Be proactive.

If you find it challenging to connect with people regularly, be proactive about putting some time into your schedule for connections and communication. Even if it is only for 15 minutes at the start of the day, the time investment can help those relationships grow.

9. Step outside of your comfort zone.

Instead of sticking around like-minded people, try to push yourself outside of what feels comfortable. That’s where the diverse opinions are, ensuring that you have more potential outcomes to pursue.

The best way to build better professional relationships is to be yourself. With your authenticity and expertise, you’ll find ways to connect with others to establish a network that benefits everyone.

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