Want to create stronger connections with your colleagues or clients? Listen to them. Building business relationships really is as easy as tuning in to what others have to say and showing them that you hear them. Here’s how:
Prepare for Meetings
Do you have a habit of walking into meetings without first reviewing documents and agendas that were sent in advance? If so, it’s time to revise your meeting mindset. A business colleague who schedules a meeting and sends out documents for that meeting in advance expects everyone to have prepped for the meeting by reviewing those documents.
Know the purpose of each meeting you attend and show an active interest in the colleague who is running the meeting. This shows that you don’t view the meeting as a waste of time (even if you do) and will help you to begin building stronger relationships with all who attend the meetings with you. Also, put away your phone, tablet and other devices during meetings and truly tune in to what’s being said.
Talk Less, Listen More
According to 3 Ways to Build Better Business Relationships: The Profound Experience of Being Heard, a good rule of thumb regarding interactions with business colleagues and clients is to talk less and listen more.
People are inherently more interested in what they have to say than in what someone else wants to say. Be the business contact that listens more to the opinions of others and reap the benefits. When your input is required, make it obvious that you have properly heard what the other person said and offer your feedback in a professional and kind manner.
As you begin listening more actively to your colleagues, you may notice that coworkers will come to you more often with confidential information and stories that they don’t want others to hear. Avoid breaking their trust by never passing along secrets to others. By showing that you’re someone your coworkers can trust, you’ll continue building on the foundation of business relationships with others.
Use Communication Mediums Effectively
Proper listening techniques vary depending on which communication medium you’re using. For example, face-to-face interactions require that you maintain focus on the person who’s speaking and that you acknowledge that you’re listening by nodding your head and by employing other active listening techniques. Active listening via email, on the other hand, requires that you respond to important emails you receive with a brief rewording of the original message to ensure you understood everything correctly.
Also, there is a correct and incorrect communication medium for every message. Avoid using the improper medium by knowing your audience, the message and other details.
One of the most effective and easiest ways to build better business relationships is by listening to what others have to say. In a world filled with noise and agendas, people simply want to be heard. By thoroughly reviewing that memo, by talking less and listening more and by utilizing other active listening techniques you can begin building true and lasting business relationships.