7 ways to build relationship – How to make friends and influence people (to misquote Dale Carnegie).

This may all seem blindingly obvious but we rarely do it consistently. Over many years as a consultant, I have picked up on people who are good at this, and people who are not. Guess who succeeds?
If you want to make good, strong relationships in your workplace, with friends, or in families, this is the way to do it. If you notice that a relationship is deteriorating, ask, “Am I doing all of the following?” Relationships are key to human wealth, health and happiness.

1) Listen when people are talking. Usually we are focused on our inner chatter, and planning what to say, as soon as the other person stops to breathe. If you want to be build relationships really listen!

2) Remember as much as you can of what people have told you previously and refer to it when you next meet. This has a powerful impact on your relationship.

3) Support people in groups. People really appreciate public acknowledgement although it does need to be truthful. Even just saying “that’s interesting” can start to win people over.

4) Don’t take the mickey. It can give you a quick laugh and a second’s satisfaction but may embarrass someone, depending on the context. Do you want to be teased in front of; a new partner, a large meeting, or your CEO? Of course humour can be a part of friendly relations, but it needs to be in the right context, otherwise it can be felt as passive aggressive behaviour and very damaging.

5) Say words like thank you and please. Courtesy shows respect and can easily be forgotten in the midst of busy lives.

6) Notice things people are doing well and say so out loud. We’re generally much too quick to criticise.

7) Focus your attention on what you like about people, rather than what you don’t. If you need to have a difficult conversation with someone, it is worth writing ten things that you like about them, even if they are quirky; ‘I like their shirts, they’re always on time etc. This will make your challenge more respectful, and more effective. I do it with people I have not met, but that requires another conversation!

Good Luck and Enjoy
Dr Cathie Woodward

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