5 Ways to Get the Most Out Of Your Business Relationships
Created by Camille Winer
A 75-year-long study from Harvard University reports that “good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Period."
That goes for professional relationships as well. As we get caught up in lists and deadlines, we often lose sight of the quality of our day-to-day work relationships: colleagues, employers, employees, vendors, clients, prospects, and supporters.
As with personal relationships, work relationships require effort. There are a few tools that I use, and they've had a noticeable effect on how I relate to the world at work for that day. I feel more more effective, productive, and happy.
Here are five steps that can help you have healthier and more successful business relationships.
Bonus: These can be helpful for marketers connecting with buyer personas as well!
I know what you're thinking: “I don’t have time to meditate!”
Have you heard this popular Zen saying? “You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day; unless you are too busy, then you should sit for an hour.”
Meditation cuts down on drama that we bring into our business relationships. Taking at least 5-10 minutes at the beginning of the day for quiet reflection makes us less likely to get emotionally charged by emails or work issues. It makes us more effective in our communications, more creative, and more productive.
Tip: Use meditation to improve marketing communications!
By meditating on your clients, prospects, or supporters, you can focus on effective communication that will help you really connect with them. In an interview on the business podcast Big Shifts, best-selling author Michele Pariza Wacek (author of Love-Based Copywriting: A Step-By-Step Process to Master Writing Copy That Attracts, Inspires and Invites) suggests meditating on your clients and prospects before sitting down to write a blog post or other communications.
When you think about it, even if it’s your boss or your co-worker, a few minutes of quiet reflection can bring expanded awareness, more effective communication to the relationship, and a welcome and noticeable difference in your interactions. It’s worth taking the time!
2) Exude gratitude
Take a few moments to jot down a gratitude list. This can consist of very simple items, such as “this cup of coffee” or “sunshine coming in the window.” You can devote a portion of your list to work-related items such as “my clean desk” or “my brilliant colleague ” or to a certain client or vendor.
The feeling of gratitude attracts to us more of what we are grateful for. Use this tool at any time during the day when you notice that you are focusing on the “bad” stuff. It will lighten your energy again so that you can get back to being more effective and present.
3) Have the courage to be vulnerable
In her TED Talk on vulnerability, social researcher Brené Brown shares her study of humans who possess an inherent sense of worthiness. She shared the qualities that these “whole hearted” people have in common:
- The courage to be imperfect
- Compassion toward themselves, then others
- Connection as a result of being their authentic selves
- Embracing vulnerability as a necessity on the journey to connectedness
Brené’s conclusion is that vulnerability is the birthplace of joy, creativity, connection, and love.
At work, we sometimes go on autopilot, treating everything and everybody with a “business-as-usual” attitude. But the success of our work lies in the quality of our relationships—to our employees, employers, colleagues, vendors, patients, and customers and supporters.
Addressing the HubSpot INBOUND conference a few years ago, Brené Brown challenged all of us to be more authentic at work. It's okay sometimes to "get real" with a coworker that you are experiencing a conflict with instead of avoiding, ignoring, or escalating the situation.
For example, have you been obsessed about your relationship with John because he hasn't said “hi” to you all week as he passed your office? Go say “hi” to John and get a reality check on your story.
Or, did John do something you really appreciated (maybe he was on your gratitude list!)? Pop your head in and let him know.
Feeling more connected with those around us can free up our creativity and effectiveness and help us to be more successful in our work.
4) Go ahead, be of service today
Some days it just seems that nothing is going smoothly, and we'd like everyone to just see us coming and step out of the way. This is an uncomfortable place to be, so here’s one simple mantra to help: “How can I be of service today?” Repeat this mantra as you go down your task list. You will be more able to focus on what’s useful to others in what you are doing, which for most of us is our job, after all! You'll also notice yourself starting to smile and feeling happy to cross paths with your fellow human beings.
5) Get moving
Sometimes the only way to bring clarity into our thinking at work is to get on the move. A short walk around the block can make all the difference in how you handle a sticky situation. Getting your body moving will release tension and breathe vital energy back into your day.
If going outside isn’t an option, find space in the office to stretch or do yoga. There are many apps offering guidance on taking exercise breaks during the day, and of course, lots of music to dance to for five minutes with the headphones! A little bit goes a long way in improving circulation and mood.
These valuable tools have been effective in helping me to increase my level of connection and effectiveness in day-to-day work relationships. If you have other tools that help you, please share them below in the comments!