Whenever I am asked my opinion, I am so humbled that it is so highly valued. It is something I have always taken very seriously in my work and personal relationships.
However, in a society where life is fast paced and is measured on how many followers you have and how ‘engaged’ they are to be seen as truly influential and valuable, how do you create genuine two-way value in your relationships that last and is more than just lip service?
Humans are social creatures and whether you are an introvert or extravert (or somewhere in the middle like I am), we crave friendship and positive interactions at home and at work.
So how do you create a deep human connection that lasts and delivers true value – beyond the likes and business card shove?
Everyone has something valuable to share. It may not be what you are interested in, but they are. So take the time to switch off from whatever is distracting you (your phone, people movements or someone seemingly more interesting at an event) look at them and listen to them. You might surprise yourself and realise that person has added value to you by sharing some insight you weren’t expecting or didn’t know. Make sure you return the favour. Wait until they are finished (don’t interrupt), and impart something of value back to them (and hence, leave a lasting impression). You never know, you may end up needing to contact them in the future because you now know they can add value where you cannot.
Creating trust in relationships is vital to establishing your value. Simply put, if you say you will do something for someone, then do it. Lip service or name dropping with promises of introductions and no follow up is just boring. And if you can’t deliver on the agreed time frame, then let that person know. Follow up and follow through are vital to building trust and value.
We are all trying to find a voice in this busy world, particularly professionally when the competition can be fierce. There seems to be a misunderstanding between putting yourself out there and sounding full of it. Humility is not about being a wallflower, but about building a lasting impression without the fanfare, to forming and nurturing cooperative relationships – a crucial element of strengthening connections and value.
Monday mornings are reserved for people to connect and meet with me without agenda. Sometimes, when people are starting out, or a little lost with their career or business, they need someone to help them unpack their thoughts, without pressure of an agenda. If someone has the courage to reach out to you to ask your opinion, make the time. Not only does it feel good to help someone, most of the time, by listening to them, you realise they have a lot of value to add but just need some help realising it.
Quit the sell
If you are genuine about delivering value than do it without agenda and without a sales pitch. The sales or work comes from being genuine in your approach. People do remember that and the saying of what goes around comes around is true. Nothing is more powerful than a word of mouth recommendation. Take it from a seasoned marketer, the rest (social media, digital, advertising and PR) is important but without a genuine base, it’s just empty promises.