By Casey McVay
Relationships are one of the most important aspects of living a good life. Yet, often times, we don’t value the conversations we have or pay close enough attention to those around us. What I have learned in my young life is relationships help us when we reach the proverbial fork in the road.
When we face challenges or opportunities, our relationships, our network and connections, personal and professional, guide us to choose which path to take. We shouldn’t always make decisions independently, so when we need help seeing what is best for us, we can rely on those closest to us.
Many important aspects of networking help build these connections and relationships, such as having a smart conversation starter or your “elevator speech,” which I remind you should not be boring like elevator music or so rehearsed that it feels forced. However, the simplest of tips are the essential ones, too: Be yourself, be open, inquire, and be generous.
- Be yourself. What’s not to like? You’re awesome. Don’t sweat trying to be anything but who you are and people will appreciate your authenticity.
- Be open. Not an open book, but open. When we are “all about business,” we tend to come across cold, so shake it off, and don’t fear revealing something somewhat personal – it lets the other person know you’re real.
- Inquire. Don’t forget “it takes two” in a relationship. Here are some great, easy to remember questions to ask: How do you like working at your company? How’d you get into that? Have any tips for _____?
- Be generous. Once you have made a first connection, the best way to keep it going is to be a resource for the other person. No need to overdo it here, though, but providing something interesting or helpful to them, a referral or link to information, can make the difference in building a stronger relationship.
Little, simple things like these can add up to big, amazing long-lasting and reliable relationships, and living a really good life with great people around you.
Photos from the FLEX Annual Meeting in October, taken by Chett DeLong
This article was published in the Future Leaders & Entrepreneurs Exchange’s (FLEX) June 2019 edition of the FLEX Your Ideas (FYI) Newsletter.