Building Better Business Relationships


This is a guest post by Catherine Johns.  She teaches entrepreneurs and service professionals how to communicate confidence and charisma.   You can find and follow her on her Catherine Johns website or at @catherinejjohns on Twitter.


Business relationships can present so many challenges.

When I asked Facebook friends to fill in the blank:  My most challenging business relationship is with _____________, the very first answer I got was “Myself.”  No surprise, really.  For any of your relationships to flourish and grow, that primary relationship – the one with yourself – has to be on solid footing.

 

Building Better RelationshipsImage courtesy of  pat138241/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net 

 

And I mean “footing” literally as well as figuratively.  Building a solid relationship with yourself starts with the base.  Your feet.


Are you Ready to Take a Stand?

Think for a minute about the language we use every day. We take a stand.  We stand for something.  We stand our ground … stand on our own two feet … stand firm in the face of opposition … stand pat … stand up and be counted. 

Quick, right now, check out your feet.  Could you stand up and fly into action directly without rearranging yourself at all?  Or are your feet just lying there any old way, offering no support at all?

A healthy, strong relationship with yourself means being in your body, connected to your physical self. Grounded by your feet on the floor.  Balanced and centered in the space you occupy.

Notice your vertical axis.  The more erect, the better. (When I was becoming a presentation skills trainer they told me in no uncertain terms to avoid the word “erect” to prevent giggles in the training room.  But it’s the perfect word here.) You want your spine straight, but not stiff; your shoulders squared, but not rigid; your head right above your torso and straight up and down, not tilted. 


As they say in yoga classes, imagine a thread coming down from the ceiling, attached to the crown of your head.  There you are … very relaxed and very vertical.  And very much in relationship with yourself.

From this base position, you can engage with someone else and maintain your balance.  Not aggressive and in their face … but not a push-over, either. When you’re centered and grounded, you’re in the right position to relate to someone else as an equal.

Okay, so what if you’re NOT equals?  If someone is senior to you in your organization, this base position of relationship-with-yourself allows you to be respectful without being obsequious.   And when you’re the senior person, it sets you up to be authoritative without being authoritarian. You’re not throwing your weight around; instead your energy is contained, but very visible. You’re in a perfect position to create healthy, respectful business relationships whether you’re managing a team, “managing up,” or interacting with a peer.

You might think that this way of using your physicality is only useful if someone can see you, if they can read your body language.  Of course, your non-verbal cues do send a message when you interact with anyone. 

But your non-verbal cues also send a message to YOU.  The outer affects the inner.  Go ahead and try on this vertical, grounded posture and notice how you feel. It’s a sort of feedback loop: you center yourself, and you feel stronger, more confident, and more comfortable with you.

And that’s the perfect position to be in when you aim to develop healthy business relationships.

Question:  Do you recognize your mind - body connection?

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