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10 Best Ways To Build Long Term Connections With People You Сan’t Hold With

10 Best Ways To Build Long Term Connections With People You Сan’t Hold With

Being connected to a network of personal and professional resources is critical to growth and success in all parts of our lives. It’s important that we continue to build these networks throughout adulthood, forming new relationships, but also maintaining those that we have nurtured over time. The success of relationships comes from the right approach. Instead of thinking “what’s in it for me,” start with the attitude of “how can I help and be supportive of this individual?” You will then build strong relationships that others want to continue.

Building Your Connections

As you reach out to others to form initial connections, there are 5 ways to promote your personal brand and show others that you have value to offer.

Speak:

You do not want to monopolize conversations, either in person or online; however, it is important that others understand your passions and your interests. Your enthusiasm for what you do and what is important to you sends a strong message to others – you are someone they want to know. So, whether you are giving your 30-second elevator speech to a stranger at a wedding reception or presenting to a large group, show your energy and passion and speak to how what you do helps others. You want to present yourself as a servant, not as one who wants to be served.

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Be a Participant:

Join one or two professional organizations; and also a club or group that relates to your personal interests. Be selective and keep these memberships to a small number, so that you can participate fully. This is how you get to know other people and they get to know you. Joining too many spreads yourself too thin, and if they are too large, they become impersonal. The connections you make will all be superficial – acquaintances, not relationships.

Publish:

Whether it is on your blog or social media platforms, writing is a great way to present your passion to others. And in that writing, provide value to others. What value do you bring to the table? What solutions can you provide for others? Can you entertain or inspire with what you write? There are the things that will draw others who want to become a part of your network – personal or professional.

University Connections – Past and Present:

There are no doubt connections that you made during your college days, and you have lost touch since. Find those folks on social media and renew those relationships. If you are currently in college, start building connections now – they may be of great value in your future.

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Volunteer:

Becoming a valued member of your community through volunteering. It’s an excellent way to connect with others and to feel good about accomplishing something that gives back. If you can become a leading supporter of a charitable cause, you can promote that cause online as well, and make new connections in a broader community. And, if you have a business, and your business supports a charity, you will build a large community of supporters among millennials and Gen Y’ers. Social responsibility is a big factor when these two generations make decision about who to do business with.

Maintaining Your Connections

Once you have many connections, you want to maintain them, whether they are personal or professional. An important reminder however: treat your connections as individuals who you support and serve in some way, not as people who can only promote or help you. There are 5 ways to do this:

Create or Keep Creating:

If you don’t find an organization that meets your needs for networking, create one – either physical or virtual. As a founder, you will have immediate credibility and can become an influencer in your niche. And, as a founder, you will have faster and greater access to other influencers – a great way to grow your network of connections.

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Express Gratitude and Congratulations:

Birthdays, weddings, new babies, and other holidays should always be remembered, even if only with an e-card. This keeps all of your relationships intact, and knowing that you have remembered and taken the time is important. Expressing gratitude in some way is also critical. Even if a connection introduced you to someone new, gratitude must be expressed. Nothing beats continued and regular communication in such positive ways.

Create Formalized Communication Methods:

Write articles that you regularly share; share great writing that others have produced, including those within your network; produce a newsletter that provides value to your tribe as a whole; recognize members of your network publicly when they accomplish something.

Plan Social Events:

Host informal gatherings a couple of times a year. If your local network is small, use your home; if large, find an informal gathering place. This puts you in regular contact with your connections and allows them to connect with one another as well. And, if you invite each person to bring another, look how you can widen your network by just one event.

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Telephone:

This may seem “old school” but it is very effective. Pick ten people each week, and call two each day, for a short 15-minute conversation. That’s 30 minutes a day that pays off handsomely in terms of deeper bonding and more enduring relationships.

Featured photo credit: Viktor Hanacek via picjumbo.com

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Dante Munnis

content manager

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Last Updated on April 11, 2019

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in every phase of your life. This is especially true in the workplace.

I have personally worked with several leaders who were masters of communication. A few were wonderful speakers who could tell a great story and get everyone in the room engaged. Those of us in attendance would walk away feeling inspired and eager to help with what came next. Others were very skilled at sharing a clear direction and job expectations.

I knew exactly what was expected of me and how to achieve my goals. This was the foundation of an energized and vibrant role I was in. What I have found is strong communication skills are incredibly helpful and sometimes critical in how well we perform at work.

Here we will take a look at how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

How Communication Skills Help Your Success

Strong communication skills pave the way for success in many ways. Let’s look at a few of the big ones.

Create a Positive Experience

Here are two examples of how well developed communication skills helps create a positive experience:

When I first moved to the city I now live in, I began a job search. Prior to my first live interview, I was told an address to go to. Upon arriving at the address provided, I drove around and around attempting to find the location. After 15 minutes of circling and looking for the address, I finally grabbed a parking spot and set out on foot.

What I discovered was the address was actually down an alley and only had the number over the door. No sign for the actual company. The person that gave me those very unclear directions provided a bad experience for me.

Had they communicated the directions to get there in a clear manner, my experience would have been much better. Instead the entire experience started off poorly and colored the entire meeting.

As a recruiter, I frequently provide potential candidates with information about a job I’m speaking to them about. In order to do this, I also provide a picture of the overall company, the group they might be joining, and how their role fits in and impacts the entire company.

Time and time again I have been told by candidates that I have provided the clearest picture of a company and role they have ever heard. They have a positive experience when I clearly communicate to them. Even when the position does not work out for them, often times they will want to stay in touch with me due to the open communication and beneficial experience they had during the interviewing process.

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Strong communication skills will provide a positive experience in virtually any interaction you have with someone.

Help Leadership Skills

It’s certainly a skill all its own to be able to lead others.

Being a mentor and guiding others towards success is a major hallmark of great leaders. Another characteristic of effective leaders is the ability to communicate clearly.

As I referenced above, having a leader who can plainly articulate the company’s mission and direction goes a really long way towards being the Captain of the boat that others want to follow. It’s like saying “here’s our destination and this is how we are going to get there” in a way that everyone can get on board with.

Another critical component of everyone helping to sail the boat in the right direction is knowing what your portion is all about. How are you helping the boat move towards its destination in the manner than is consistent with the leaders’ vision?

If you have a boss or a manager that can show you what it takes for not only you to be successful, but also how your performance helps the company’s success then you’ve got a winner. A boss with superior communication skills.

Build Better Teams

Most of us work in teams of some sort or another. During the course of my career, I have led teams up to 80 and also been an individual contributor.

In my individual contributor roles, I have been part of a larger team. Even if you are in business for yourself, you have to interact with others in one manner or another.

If you have strong communication skills, it helps to build better teams. This is true whether you are in an IT department with 100 other fellow programmers or if you own your own business and have customers or vendors you communicate with.

When you showcase your robust ability to communicate well with others while interacting with them, you are building a better team.

Now let’s jump in to how to improve communication skills to help you pave the way for your workplace success.

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How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

There are many tips, tricks, and techniques to improve communication skills. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information, so let’s focus on the things that will provide the biggest return on your time investment.

Most of these tips will be fairly easy to become aware of but will take time and effort to implement. So let’s go!

1. Listen

Ever heard the saying you have two ears and one mouth for a reason? If you haven’t, then here’s the reason:

Being a good listener is half the equation to being a good communicator.

People who have the ability to really listen to someone can then actually answer questions in a meaningful way. If you don’t make the effort to actively listen, then you are really doing yourself and the other person a disservice in the communication department.

Know that person who is chomping at the bit to open his or her mouth the second you stop talking? Don’t be that person. They haven’t listened to at least 1/2 of what you’ve said. Therefore the words that spill out of their mouth are going to be about 1/2 relevant to what you just said.

Listen to someone completely and be comfortable with short periods of silence. Work on your listening skills first and foremost.

2. Know Your Audience

Knowing your audience is another critical component to having strong communication skills. The way you interact with your manager should be different than how you interact with your kids. This isn’t to say you need to be a different person with everyone you interact with. Far from it.

Here is a good way to think about it:

Imagine using your the same choice of words and body language you use with your spouse while interacting with your boss. That puts things in a graphic light!

You want to ensure you are using the type of communication most relevant to your audience.

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3. Minimize

I have lunch with a business associate about 3 times a year. We’ve been talking for several years now about putting a business deal together.

He is one of those people that simply overwhelms others with a lot of words. Sometimes when I ask him a question, I get buried beneath such an avalanche of words that I’m more confused than when I asked the question. Needless to say this is most likely a large portion of why we never put the deal together.

Don’t be like my lunch business associate. The goal of talking to or communicating with someone is to share actual information. The goal is not to confuse someone, it’s to provide clarity in many cases.

State what needs to be stated as succinctly as possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some pleasant conversation about the weather too.

The point is to not create such an onslaught of words and information that the other person walks away more confused than when they started.

4. Over Communicate

So this probably sounds completely counter intuitive to what I just wrote about minimizing your communication. It seems like it might be but it’s not.

What I mean by over communicating is ensuring that the other person understands the important parts of what you are sharing with them. This can be done simply yet effectively. Here’s a good example:

Most companies have open enrollment for benefits for the employees in the fall. The company I work for has open enrollment from November 1 to 15. The benefits department will send out a communication to all employees around October 1st, letting them know open enrollment is right around the corner and any major changes that year. There’s also a phone number and email for people to contact them with any questions.

Two weeks later, we all get a follow up email with basically the same information. We get a 3rd communication the week before open enrollment and another one 1 day before it starts.

Finally we get 2 emails during enrollment reminding us when open enrollment ends.

There’s minimal information, it’s more of a reminder. This is effective over communication.

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5. Body Language

The final critical component to how to improve communication skills for workplace success is body language. This is something most of us have heard about before but, a reminder is probably a good idea.

When I am in a meeting with someone I am comfortable with, I tend to kind of slouch down in my chair and cross my arms. When I catch myself doing this, I sit up straight and uncross my arms. I remember that crossing arms can many times be interpreted as a sign of disagreement or conflict.

In general, the best rule of thumb is to work towards having open body language whenever possible at work. This means relaxing your posture, not crossing your arms, and looking people in the eye when speaking with them.

When you are speaking in front of others, stand up straight and speak in a clear voice. This will convey confidence in your words.

Conclusion

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in many facets of your life and most certainly in the workplace.

Good communication helps create better teams, positive experiences with those we interact with, and are critical for leadership.

There are numerous tactics and techniques to be used to improve communication skills. Here we’ve reviewed how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

Now go communicate your way to success.

More Resources About Effective Communication

Featured photo credit: HIVAN ARVIZU via unsplash.com

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