How Not to Screw Up a New Business Relationship

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Date and Dateless © by Guian Bolisay (2011)

Building professional relationships can be treacherous, and you always hope to put your best foot forward when meeting new colleagues, clients and partners. Luckily, this phase is similar to the initial process of dating — it’s the time when the precedent is set for months and years to come.

This article gives you the skinny on the governing principles of how to use tried-and-true dating principles to help building personable and lasting relationships in the workplace. Whether you’re dating someone new or pursuing a new business relationship, there are always three governing principles to keep in mind: expectations, communication, and timing.

Stick to these three tenets to successfully navigate that early “get to know each other” phase:

  1. Expectations. In the early stages of a relationship, it’s very important to establish expectations. One easy way to do so is to discuss objectives and determine what each person is anticipating from the business deal or the relationship. In order to avoid potential “snafus,” it’s a good idea to make sure expectations are clear from the very beginning.
  2. Communication. We all know how important communication is in dating! Nobody is a mind reader, and you can’t expect someone to know what you’re thinking if you don’t tell them. It’s also a good idea to feel out how frequent and what types of communication you should use with a new relationship. Nobody likes an over-communicator, but you want to let the person know that you’re interested in taking the relationship further.
  3. Timing. Just as in dating, the timing of a new business relationship must be right. Have you ever met someone you thought was fantastic but the pace was just too fast or slow? Admit it, you have. Given the fast pace of today’s business environment, timing is just as key to building professional relationships as it is with personal ones. From the professional side of relationships, this is the most important of the three governing principles because you can’t prepare for communication needs or think about fulfilling expectations if you don’t know the intended timing.

Knowing expectations, leveraging communication, and confirming timing are all essential to relationship success. If you put these core principles to work at the beginning of any new relationship (business or otherwise), you’ll be well-prepared to build fulfilling, mutually beneficial relationships.

Lauren Perkins is a brand evangelist and digital tastemaker who delivers integrated solutions from a unique entrepreneurial perspective. She is currently the CEO and Founder of Perks Consulting, a digital and creative services marketing agency specializing in the fusion of lifestyle and technology based in New York City.

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. The YEC leads #FixYoungAmerica, a solutions-based movement that aims to end youth unemployment and put young Americans back to work.

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