People often interchange the terms “networking” and “relationship building,” especially when talking about business connections. As a result, many get the impression that they are the same thing. At the same time, many wonder if there’s any difference at all between the two.

Similarities and differences between Networking and Relationship Building

That appears to be the case. Both involve connecting with people within a business environment to achieve a specific goal, making them critical to success.

But if you take a closer look, you will find that networking and relationship building are very different.

Networking is very much like speed dating: you say hi, acknowledge each other, ask a few questions, exchange business cards, and move on to the next.

Relationship building, on the other hand, happens on a deeper level. Building a relationship—whether it’s a personal one or work-related—takes a great deal of time and effort on both parties. So while the ultimate goal is to gain something from out of the relationship, this is often not discussed right away.

Importance of focusing on relationship building

While networking still has its place in the corporate world, more emphasis is now given towards relationship building.

The reason is simple.

Networking provides a superficial connection. Because of this, it’s very easy for people to forget who you are and what you said almost immediately.

Relationship building encourages you to connect with others in a more personal and emotional level. This makes you more memorable because while people may not remember what you said, they will remember how they felt converting with you, long after the first encounter.

That said, here are 5 ways how to transition from networking to relationship building.

1) See people as people, not goals

One reason why people struggle with building strong business relationships is that they are too focused on what they can get out of the connection.

The problem with this is that people can sense if you’re trying to connect with them because you need something. When this happens, their walls come up, and they begin to distance them from you.

When connecting with colleagues and peers in your industry, approach them as you would when you want to make friends with someone. Show that you genuinely want to get to know them and help them out, even if you don’t get anything out from the relationship.

2) Go beyond the elevator pitch

In the past, you may have always been taught to have your elevator pitch ready so that you can deliver this to people you want to connect with at business conferences and events.

While it’s true that elevator pitches are still helpful, make sure that you don’t deliver this as though you’re a robot repeating the same message. Instead, take a few moments to get to know more about the person you want to connect with and customize your elevator pitch based on what you’ve gathered. Adding this tiny personal touch can make all the difference in making you more memorable.

3) Shift the focus to them

As mentioned earlier, people would remember more how you make them feel. That said, spending more time to listen to them and letting them talk. This makes the people you want to connect with special and important, and they will remember that. As a result, you’re more able to take the conversation further even after the conference or event.

4) Provide value

Sharing experiences is one of the critical elements in relationship building, especially when these are valuable and helpful for them. The more you give them something useful and helpful to the people you connect with, the more you’re able to bring the relationship to the next level. At the same time, they’ll be more likely to help you out when you ask.

5) Make building trust a priority

Building trust has become more valuable than ever. That’s because, in today’s digital world, much of the business relationship and communication people get is quick, impersonal, and cold.

Developing some level of trust to the people you want to build relationships with takes time and can never be rushed. So you’ll need to be patient with this. It will be worth it in the end.

A crucial skill to effective relationship building is having strong interpersonal and communication skills. If you struggle with this, our Discovery session with Coach Margaret will help you learn different tips and tricks on how to genuinely build relationships by knowing what to say and when to say it. Schedule a free session with Coach Margaret today to learn more.

Image Credits: Deposit Photos

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