The ability to build professional relationships is at the basis of success – they can translate into new business opportunities, references, more engaged clients and happier employees. 

Building professional relationships and staying connected with your network takes time and work. Here are a few tips on how to build better professional relationships, remotely and in-person. 

1) Improve your communication skills 

Poor communications is often central in many workplace and business setting issues –  it can be a cause of failure to meet deadlines, increased stress and low morale. 

Communication not only includes in-person conversations with others but also how you come across via email, how you present yourself in meetings and how you respond in team projects. 

Take time to learn to recognize how  you communicate with others, and learn some common tactics to help you improve. There are many books and seminars on how to be a better professional communicator – take advantage of these resources today! 

2) Be an Active Listener 

At work we often put the pressure on ourselves to multitask and we simply don’t pay our full enough attention to one task most of the time.  With the rise of remote working it is not uncommon for people to start completing background tasks during meetings, however, showing signs of listening (such as keeping eye contact and) is as important as with in-person meetings. We naturally gravitate to people who we think value us whether that’s remote or in-person. 

Make sure next time you’re in conversation with a business contact or a colleague to exhibit positive body language and express acknowledgement and encouragement throughout the interaction. 

3) Respond to feedback positively 

Business relationships can involve more direct, frank feedback than personal relationships. Don’t take negative feedback personally and always lead with a positive attitude. A simple thank you or congratulations is an effective way to present yourself as thoughtful and strengthen your relationship. 

Learning to incorporate change that comes as a result of negative feedback is not only important for developing your professional relationships but professional growth as a whole. It has been linked to higher job satisfaction and faster adaptation to a new role or company. 

4) Show gratitude and celebrate others 

Showing appreciation and gratitude is one of the key strategies for improving your professional relationships. 

For example, if you notice on a social platform like LinkedIn that it’s one of your connections’ work anniversary, they’ve received an award or even a promotion, use it as an opportunity to celebrate their achievement and reconnect. 

5) Be Mindful of where you make connections

Consider what are the common practices in your industry. While some industries are built on social interactions and personal referrals, such as conferences, networking events and other gatherings, other industries connect via different social media platforms. 

Learn what is relevant to your professional needs and adjust your communications accordingly –  remember some platforms are seen as more professional than others, so be mindful of what you share! 

6) Seek opinions and advice 

People enjoy giving out advice and offering their opinion – it shows that you trust and respect them and helps you build a stronger relationship. 

Next time you have a need for professional feedback, don’t hesitate to reach out for advice! Remember, be sure to ask about them too, and always follow up with a close thank you.