There is no doubt that friendships are forged over food. But other than good food what else can we do to build bridges into people’s lives and forge good friendships? Here are my top 5 tips on building great connections:
1. GET ON THEIR PAGE!
Talk to people about what they want to talk about not necessarily what you want to talk about. One of the best ways to strike a conversation is to figure out what interests other people and talk about it. If you want to catch fish, you can’t do that with cheese cake just because you think it tastes good. The hook has to have worms, which will attract fish. (How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie) I knew someone who loved planes, so I studied up on planes, giving me the ability to talk more intelligently about things he loved. A sure win when building relationships.
2. BE PRESENT
There is nothing more appreciative than someone being there when you need them. Being ‘present’ in someone’s life creates memories, speaks of commitment, and shows they are a priority to you. When you are present, be present, don’t be distracted by your phone, don’t take calls unless they are urgent, give your full attention to ‘here and now’. Look for opportunities, make opportunities, to go round and help your neighbour, your friend, or school mate; before being asked. You will be a ‘standout’ person in their life. Be present on those important occasions whenever you can. There have been times I have dropped into half a party because its on a night I have something else I am also committed to, but being present makes the statement, I made time for you.
3. MAKE YOUR CONVERSATION MEMORABLE
I don’t mean go prepared with an intelligent speech packed full of funny or outstanding stories. Healthy conversation is where you are asking questions, not always talking. Ask the more thoughtful questions, not just the obvious ones; show value and interest. Be a good listener. Someone who listens to you inflates your value. You can listen to someone all evening and they will come away feeling like they have had the best conversation ever! Of course if you are that person who is doing all the talking, stop it! Stop and ask a question. Make it two way!
4. MAKE YOUR COMMENTS MEANINGFUL
Showing your appreciation is one of the greatest ways to help someone feel good about themselves. You can always find something positive to say about anyone at any time. Be a voice of encouragement. Say what others just don’t ever say. Be specific in your feedback … “Thank you for … that really helped me in a moment of pressure”; “What I like about you is …”, “I appreciate it when…” You create the climate around your relationship circles by the way you speak.
5. BUILD TRUST
Trust is the foundation of any strong relationship. Integrity, reliability and honesty are essential in building trust. Seeing through what you said you would do. Giving and receiving honest feedback. Building a sense that you ‘have their back’. Defending them when under criticism. Honour is given but trust is earnt.
Written by: Steve Warren