Building professional relationships can be treacherous. You always hope to put your best foot forward when meeting new clients, partners and peers. Luckily, this phase is similar to the initial process of dating — it’s the time when the precedent is set for months and years to come.
Experiencing the perfect “business” date is attainable. Thankfully, there are governing principles on how to use tried-and-true dating techniques to help building personable and lasting business relationships. When you’re pursuing a new business relationship, here are three tenets to successfully navigate that early “get to know each other” phase:
In the early stages of a relationship, it’s very important to establish expectations. One easy way to do so is to discuss objectives and determine what each person is anticipating from the business deal or partnership. In order to avoid potential “snafus,” it’s a good idea to make sure expectations are clear from the very beginning.
We all know how important communication is in dating! It’s even more important when it comes to business. Nobody is a mind reader. You can’t — and shouldn’t — expect a new business partner to know what you’re thinking if you don’t tell them.
It’s also a good idea to manage the frequency and types of communication you engage in with new business colleagues. Nobody likes an over-articulated “insanely talkative” person. Use a balanced communication approach to let the person know that you’re interested in taking the relationship further.
Just as in dating, the timing of a new business relationship must be right. Have you ever met someone you thought was fantastic but the pace was just too fast or slow? Admit it, you have.
Given the fast pace of today’s business environment, timing is just as key to building professional relationships as it is with personal ones. From the professional side of relationships, this is the most important of the three governing principles because you can’t prepare for communication needs or think about fulfilling expectations if you don’t know the intended timing.
Setting expectations, leveraging communication, and confirming timing are all essential to relationship success. If you put these core principles to work at the beginning of any new business partnership, you’ll be well-prepared to build fulfilling, mutually beneficial relationships.
Photo Credit: TC Charton
Lauren Perkins is a brand evangelist and digital tastemaker who delivers integrated solutions from a unique entrepreneurial perspective. She is currently the CEO and Founder of Perks Consulting, a digital and creative services marketing agency specializing in the fusion of lifestyle and technology based in New York City.