Think about all the people you know and have met during your professional life alone... you have so many types of different relationships with many different people. Each connection between two people is not identical to another.
That fact shows the beauty of human nature.
Each and every one of us is unique and brings something different to any relationship we form: a different personality, knowledge, different strengths, fields of interest, a different background, and much more.
That's what makes each relationship with someone truly unique.
That being said, there is one component that enables us to strengthen any type of relationship.
This component represents a basic human need we all crave.
We are expected to provide this component in our personal relationships, with our partner, our parents, our siblings, our children, and our good friends.
But no one really anticipates you showing this component in your business relationships.
And this is just why using it can transform any business relationship into a stronger, more trustworthy and more fulfilling one.
This single component is: Caring.
How to transform any relationship for the best
The essence of the "caring "component is communicating with others while focusing on what matters most to them: themselves.
When you can really find interest in others in an authentic way, it shows and you create a stronger bond and connection.
How do you show your business friends you really care?
Here are a few ways to do so:
Caring #1 - Provide help
Helping others is a basic action that shows people you are there for them and want them to succeed.
Helping others also ignites the law of reciprocity: if you help me, I will want to pay you back by helping you, and that creates a snowball of good deeds that builds a strong relationship over time.
The catch in helping others is that you better assist in what the person really needs and wants. They say "The road to hell is paved with good intentions," and it's true.
So many people want to help others, but often do only what they think* the person needs, as opposed to what they really need.
Ask and research what your business friend wants so when you give your help, it will be as accurate as you can. Doing so will get you two closer!
Caring #2 - Really listen
Research has proven that listening has the power to connect people.
You see, when we talk about ourselves, our body releases hormones that fill us with the wonderful feeling of reward. We feel good and we attribute that feeling to the person who listens to us!
Also, when you listen carefully to the other person, you can really learn about him / her: what he / she loves, what matters most to him / her, facts about his / her personal life, what his / her ambitions are, or his / her challenges and successes. A lot about it lies in the quality and variety of the questions you raise. The fact that you listen shows the other person you care and connects you further. It can also help you to help people better (see point #1).
Make sure to document important bits of info the person shares with you, so you can use it in the future to find interest in him / her.
Caring #3 - Find constant interest
Every now and again, when you touch base and chat, make sure to raise topics that matter most to this person and show your interest and care. Most likely, this person would not expect you to remember those facts, let alone ask about them.
Show interest and ask how a certain project he / she is working on is progressing, if there were any results from a connection or lead you sent over to him / her, how was their vacation to France, or their son's Bar Mitzvah?
I personally love to do that! I even text my network friends in the morning before a big presentation or meeting to wish them luck. I do it because I really, authentically care and want the best for them. And they know it. Caring in this way does wonders to my authentic business relationships.
Caring #4 - Surprise
Most people feel loved when someone sends them something he / she knew they would like or need, without them asking for it.
We are all exposed to a lot of information all the time. Try to get used to scanning your mind every time you get new information, and think about who can benefit from it. For example: Your friend told you he is searching for a marketing manager? Tell him about your friend who is looking for that specific position. In your last meeting, your colleague told you about a book he would love to read but hasn't gotten the chance yet... buy it for him as a present! You just read an article about the NY start up scene and you know your friend owns a start up company in NY. Send him the article and say, "I think this may interest you."
The idea of surprising someone is about giving small gestures that shows your network friends they are in your thoughts. The surprise effect will make you memorable and strengthen your relationships. If you care about him or her, they will think of you too and care back.
The unwritten law that connects people through caring
Throughout my 16 years of having a global career and investigating business relationships, I discovered a striking rule that made relationship-forming clearer to me, and the rule is this:
The interest, energy, language and care you put into a relationship
will dictate the interest, energy, language and care you will receive from the other person.
We people are programmed to mirror each other, especially when something touches our emotions.
In most cases, you can change any relationship for the best (and worse) based on your actions. Those actions will ignite the nature of the actions you get in return, and the type of relationships you share.
If we only inject a little more "care" into our relationships with our colleagues, clients, business partners, suppliers, mentors, and so on, we will be able to create many more authentic business friendships that will carry us farther than we can imagine...
toward our professional and personal goals, achievements, successes, and a great feeling of fulfilment from being loved by the great people that surround you.