While it should be common sense to show respect to others, some people need a constant reminder. During the relationship-building process, you want to always treat other people with the respect they deserve. Since business circles are small, you need to be careful not to give off a negative impression with anyone. If you do, don't be surprised when other people find out about your actions.
Treat Seasoned Executives With Respect
Whenever you have the privilege of forming a relationship with a seasoned executive, make sure you take it very seriously. It doesn't matter whether you are an executive yourself. You still need to treat other executives with the utmost respect.
In general, executives are very busy and have various people contacting them all the time. If you are lucky enough to have begun to build a relationship with an executive, don't mess it up. I can't tell you how many times I hear about people not respecting the time of seasoned professionals. It's amazing that some people don't take these relationships seriously.
Anyone who botches up these relationships probably has a hard time developing relationships with most people. Rather than taking the chance of losing a relationship with an executive, go the extra mile to treat this individual right. To help build these relationships, you need to “respond" and “realize". What I mean by “respond" is that you should always respond to phone calls and e-mails no matter the subject of discussion.
For example, if an executive offers to provide you free advice, take him or her up on the offer even if you don't think you need guidance. You never know what could come out of these conversations.
With “realize, " be cognizant of the fact that you are fortunate enough to have a relationship with an executive. Though you may need to be more proactive to keep the relationship strong, this is a good networking technique to learn.
Use E-Mail Appropriately
E-mail is a great communication tool for building relationships because it provides you with the ability to connect quickly and easily.
Make sure you use this tool appropriately. Keep in mind that any information sent via e-mail is traceable and can be forwarded to anyone in no time. Don't write anything you will regret later.
Take the time to always write professional e-mails when you are sending them to other professionals. The e-mails should be different than the free-flowing ones you send to your friends and family. As you probably know, many people are lazy when it comes to writing e-mails. Don't get caught using shorthand and writing incomplete sentences. In fact, write your e-mails as if you were composing a letter. Take the time to send high-quality e-mails. This shows respect.
For instance, if you are upset with someone, don't lash out in an e-mail. Not only will this come across as rude but it will also show your bad judgment. Sometimes it is better not to speak your mind about certain issues. If you do need to share your thoughts, talk to the person rather than sending an e-mail.
With e-mail, your words may come across harshly or can be taken the wrong say. Talking on the phone or in person should still not be forgotten in the relationship-building process.
Honor Meetings, Introductions, People's Time
As you get to know more people, you will schedule meetings, lunches and dinners. This is important in the relationship-building process. Without these get-togethers, you will have a difficult time getting to know people.
You should make a conscious decision to always honor these meetings.
Of course, times do occur when you will have to cancel a meeting. It is OK to cancel a meeting so long as you let the other person know with enough advance notice. Without prior notice, you are not showing the other person the respect that he or she deserves. I have heard of many stories (including my own) where people just don't show up. When you don't show up, you are not valuing the other person's time.
Some people just forget about meetings because they don't put it on their calendars. Make it a habit to add it to your calendar immediately after you schedule a meeting. While this is common sense, some people need the reminder.
Another important relationship-building technique is when people introduce you to other people in their network. You should be honored that someone took the time to make this happen. Many introductions are done via e-mail, which is a great tool and an easy way to follow up. No matter what the method is, make sure you always follow through with the connection.
Again, I have witnessed people providing thoughtful introductions and one of the parties blows it off. Not only is this disrespectful but it is also very bad business demeanor. When this happens, future introductions to this individual should be avoided. Since it makes you look bad, try not to let this happen again.
Without showing respect to other individuals, proper networking would not be possible. If you don't take building relationships seriously, other people will not take you seriously.
Jason Jacobsohn is a seasoned networker who believes in relationship building as a key component to business success. He enjoys helping others succeed by making introductions, planning events, and sharing resources. In addition, Jacobsohn enthusiastically shares resources with his network through his e-mail newsletter, “Network Your Way to Success, " and http://www.jacobsohn.com , a comprehensive business and networking resources Web site.
Further, he shares an additional perspective through his blog at http://www.networkinginsight.com