The art of building relationships, and why it matters.

“The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people”

Theodore Roosevelt

In today’s connected world, those who get ahead tend to be those able to forge strong relationships both personally and professionally. The problem is that this ability doesn’t come naturally to all people. Some of us are introverts and can often find social situations challenging.

There is plenty of advice out there with more appearing online and in print daily. That said, it’s something that was written a very long time before even my parents were born, that I found to be rather helpful.

“How to make friends and influence people” by Dale Carnegie was first published in the 1930s, but much of the advice whuch it offers is still relevant today. 

The book gets a lot of mixed reviews, but this depends on how you approach and understand it. If you experience a level of anxiety in social situations or would like help in networking or forging professional relationships, you will be introduced to some techniques that could make meeting new people a little easier.

Critics argue that there are techniques introduced which could be viewed as manipulation but I disagree. You will read about ways in which you could influence others, but there is also an underlying emphasis on being respectful, sympathetic and genuine in your approach to others. The aim is to forge a relationship or exchange value with another person, not to take advantage of them.

It’s an easy read, dated in places and if nothing else, will give you some timeless advice to reflect on and experiment with. As with everything else which could potentially help you in your personal or professional development, any success really depends on whether you are prepared to adopt some of the approaches and see where they lead.

Good communication and interpersonal skills are essential for forging relationships with people, and here is what has worked well for me;

  • Listening. When somebody is speaking, actually listen to what they are saying. Rather than waiting for them to stop talking so that you can make your next point, make a real effort to understand what they are saying. This will lead to richer conversations.
  • Empathy. Try putting yourself in another’s shoes, so that you might better understand their views or needs.
  • Give. All to often people enter into conversations with others as a way of seeing what value they can get from them. Be different, and aim to give to others without expecting anything in return, even if that just be advice. This will help build trust with others and could lead to an exchange of value for both of you.

 Any time devoted to improving your interpersonal skills and ability to interact effectively with others is undoubtedly time well spent.

6 thoughts on “The art of building relationships, and why it matters.

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