4 Steps to Making Genuine Connections

Genuine Connections

We all want to make good contacts. In business, powerful people may help us reach our goals faster. But nobody likes a user. If you are brusque and pushy or too fawning and insincere, you are more likely to alienate the very people you want to connect with.

In other words, don’t think of people as merely stepping stones to get you where you need to go. If you’re not in it to develop real relationships, there are those who will detect your insincerity a mile away. Sure, we all have an agenda of some sort – goals, objectives, things we want to accomplish. But if you start to use people as the main source of fulfilling your agenda, your ultimate success (if you actually achieve it) will be built like a house of cards.

We all know Agenda Amy. She calls or emails without much of a “Hello, how are you?,” and launches into a plethora of questions or is constantly making requests or demands. Or you meet her at a party and she charms you with her tremendous interest in who you are and what you do. But you wonder why you leave feeling so exhausted. And you get an email from her the next day asking for an introduction to one of your contacts.

What Amy has neglected to take into account is that relationships take time to develop, and what matters is quality, not quantity. As Harvey McKay, author of “Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty,” writes, “You can’t stop the world from changing, but one thing is always within your control: the strength of your relationships with others. As the world changes, one thing will remain constant: the relationships you develop over a lifetime.” Notice he said, “over a lifetime,” not “overnight.”

Agenda Amy manipulates people to get what she wants. She has no real interest in you as a person, only what you can do for her or how you can connect her to someone seemingly more powerful or influential. Amy is dying of thirst but she’s never taken the time to dig her own well.

Here are a few keys to digging a water-bearing well:

  • Take Your Time Getting to Know Someone New – We’ve all seen fast friendships fizzle out even more quickly than they began. You don’t really know someone until you’ve seen them in action – with friends, family, peers, and especially service people. You can learn a lot about someone by how they treat a waiter or sales clerk at a store.
  •  Give Without Any Expectation For Return – Give because you are in a position to help someone who deserves it. Give because it makes you feel great and you know what you put out into the universe comes back to you tenfold. But mostly, give because it could actually change someone’s world for the better.
  •  Underpromise and Overdeliver – No one likes a loud mouth name-dropper, except for Agenda Amy. She’s drawn to this ego-driven, big talker like a bee to honey. Protect your network as you would a golden egg. Be willing to share and connect, but only once you know someone’s intentions. Once you have an established, genuine relationship with someone, help them to dig their own well too.
  •  For Goodness Sake, Ask for Help– Ernest Hemingway wrote, “No man is an island.” There is no shame in asking for help. Anyone who runs a successful company will tell you that they could not do it without a team to help get things done. Find loyal, hard working people who know things that you don’t. Treat them well, and in most instances, they will reciprocate.

 ©Liz Dennery Sanders 2013

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