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If you were to ask a room full of professionals whether relationships were important in business, you would mostly find agreement. This is not a controversial idea. Despite this, the building of relationships remains a valuable skill that is often underutilized. 

So how are business relationships built? When considering this, keep in mind that it’s not just important for the CEO of a company to have relationships outside of the company. It’s useful for as many people in a company as possible to be building relationships in the industry. It’s also useful for people within the company to have relationships with each other. 

These networks of relationships encourage the sharing of industry information, connections to getting things done, and improve general morale at a business to have a more social and connected space. 

Since, generally, professionals agree that business relationships are important, the difference between someone who has these connections and someone who does not are actions that make a difference. If you want to improve your business relationships, then you need to actively make that happen with careful steps over time.

Get Training on Business Relationship Skills
If you are an individual, you can get online or in-person training on this. If you run a business, offer this training to your employees. It may seem odd to train your employees on relationship building. Many consider this to be a skill we should naturally have. That’s not always the case, and by breaking down this barrier with some training and open communication, you develop a company culture that values business relationships. 

Training will also encourage employees to be mindful of their communications and relationships. Supporting your employees in essential business skills is always a good idea, and that includes this. 

Develop Mutual Respect
Over time, you can build trust in your business relationships as you would any relationship in your life. This can be done through small actions showing respect for someone. Examples of being respectful include showing up on time or providing sufficient notice if a meeting has to be rescheduled. Praising someone else’s work–when they authentically deserve that praise. These actions display respect for their time and skills. 

Be Personal
You always want to stay authentic. You don’t need to share more with your colleagues than you are comfortable with. However, sharing small details about your life, and asking considerate questions about theirs can encourage a more comfortable relationship. Being mindful and considerate in small ways can make a big difference. For example, making calendar notes of your employees or colleagues’ birthdays and remembering to wish them well on the day. Remembering that they told you they would be going fishing that weekend, and then asking on Monday how it went. These displays of thoughtfulness create a personal connection.