You’re busy, busy, busy, building every business relationship and taking the time to invest in relationship building skills, but you may be making some big blunders and not even know it. When building relationships, you wouldn't want to miss an opportunity to make a positive impression — those opportunities can be fleeting. Yet, without realizing it, you might be.
There's a good chance you're missing three big relationship building opportunities every day. You are, if...:
1. You’re not saying your name. I’ve got a good memory. If I’ve met you once, it’s pretty likely I’ll remember your name. However, I'm in a very small minority. So when I see people I don’t have a daily interaction with, I always remind them of my name. Too often people don’t reciprocate. Failure to remind acquaintances of your name is a BIG relationship building blunder.
Weather it’s a networking event, in line at the café, or at a social gathering, chances are if the person you run into says, “Nice to see you, I’m Louis from accounting,” they do so in the hope that you’ll say your name, too. Always say your name. The other person will probably be relieved that you reminded them. And, on the off chance you forgot their name, hopefully they’ll pick up on your cue and offer their name in return.
2. You’re not saying “You’re welcome”. I have this thing that the salt and pepper should always be together. I get ridiculously anxious when they’re separated on a table. Ideally the world would only exist with conjoined salt and pepper shakers. I feel the same way about “thank you” and “you’re welcome”. As a rising star in relationship building, so should you.
So often we leave a “thank you” just hanging out there, or respond with a “no problem” or an enthusiastic “sure, sure”. It’s not enough. Every time a “thank you” comes your way, respond with “you’re welcome”. Plain and simple. It's the most appropriate, professional response that lets the other person know you appreciate their thanks.
3. You’re talking about the weather. This one is a hard habit to break. We’re so conditioned to talk about the weather as a time filler or awkward moment reducer. Like I tell my team and every single person I coach, you’re better than the weather. When you talk about the weather, you’re losing precious moments of relationship building time. Dig a little deeper and chit chat about something else.
Arm yourself with a current event or fun fact you’d like to discuss. Relay a quick story from your weekend or vacation. Talk about a favorite new restaurant. If you get totally stuck and feel yourself veering towards the weather, be prepared with a back pocket question or two. You can always ask them their feelings on salt & pepper shakers.