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Relationships - it’s not rocket science!

By: MPI Toronto | Feb 7, 2019

relationshipsWhat’s important to you? What makes you tick? This is what you need to find out about other people if you want to build lasting relationships.

What does this mean, how do you do this? This should be easy, right? After all, we are in the business of building relationships are we not?

Gone are the days when you expect to leave a business networking event with an RFP or a negotiated contract in hand, or are they? This could be part of the problem. It’s not all about you, in fact, it is not about you at all!

I have always been of the mindset that you build relationships first and then the business will follow.

Here are a few things that have proven successful for me over the years:

  • Work together on something that has absolutely no direct benefit to either of you. You establish trust and rapport when you want nothing in return. Volunteering is the best way to do this.
  • Don’t make relationships convenient for you. You need to give more than you ask.
  • Find common ground (aside from business objectives), we are all connected in some way.
  • Have a mindset of continuous learning. Ask questions, and then actually listen to understand.
  • Be genuine, be you.
  • No one is perfect, admit when you are wrong!
  • Be honest!
  • Take notes. As I get older, I feel like my memory is terrible. Get in to the habit of writing things down (kids names, important dates, preferences and so forth). Ask if it is ok if you write on the back of their business card, or quickly enter notes in to your phone/tablet.

Once you have established a great foundation and gained trust it is important to maintain these relationships. Stay in touch, show interest. Pick up the phone, continue the conversation, send articles that may be of interest to them, write handwritten notes, go out for coffee or lunch. Sometimes we rely on emails too much as an easy way to check something off our to do list. Be empathetic to others, acknowledge special moments in their lives; even remembering their kids’ and pets’ names goes a long way to show that you are interested in them as a person rather than just a business transaction.

Two quotes that I live by – 

“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give”- Winston Churchill 

“I’ve learned that people will forgive what you said, people will forget what you did, people will never forget how you make them feel” - Maya Angelou


Treat others how you want to be treated, you have no idea what someone else is going through (work or personal), so be nice.

About the writer:
Theresa Gatto, CMP is the Senior Manager of Business Events at Ottawa Tourism, responsible for the meetings and conventions market. Theresa can be reached at tgatto@ottawatourism.ca or on Twitter: @OttawaTheresa.

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