There are a few practices I've picked up over the years for how to cultivate relationships with professional acquaintances. I believe that every person, whether powerfully outgoing, radically shy, or somewhere in the middle, aspires to be in good standing with their colleagues, and wants to know the important movers and shakers in the field. Sometimes it's just hard to break through and relate with each other, right? Well, one thing I've found important is this:
- Don't be afraid to make the first move. Maybe you're trying to get to know a new coworker. Perhaps you need to build a relationship with a potential client, employer, or ally. But if you don't make the first move, you'll usually miss out.
- Open the conversation. Write an email. Attach a message with your friend request. Make (gasp) a phone call.
- Make it social. There is absolutely no equivalent to meeting in person. Once you've introduced yourself, set up a friendly meeting. It's amazing how many people are willing to sit down and connect over a cup of coffee. If you don't care for coffee, have some tea or a glass of water instead. Hell, throw a lemon slice in that water. I'll allow it.
- Keep it going. Once you're past the first meeting, make sure you continue to engage the person!
Making the first move is a reliable way to develop a strong and long-lasting relationship with someone.
Got a suggestion for good ways to start new relationships? Share in the comments on our blog!
Dane Varese is Outreach Director for the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, and an NOI community member.