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How to Develop and Manage Business Relationships

What is business without people? And so it seems that all careers can be traced along a latticework of relationships, reciprocal favors, and tip-offs. This is the prize of the vast social world that we enter the moment we set foot in the office or other workspace. An article by Tracey Crossly walks us through examples of the power business relationships bestow on their participants.

The Lifeblood of the Business

A career is kind of like a big party. Well, not exactly, though sometimes our business dealings occur at parties. And sometimes the interactions that have nothing to do with business are the ones that make our chances of career survival that much better. Let’s face it, all the institutional constructs we build around our endeavors are but glass and paper compared to the social lifeblood that runs through every interaction. When we move from one job to the next, our previous coworkers and contacts may come out of the woodwork to give us a good referral or piece of advice. Even gossip with former work contacts can have a productive function.

Managing the Social Database

Crossly compares the scores of contacts one eventually accumulates to a database (which for some is literally true). To manage this forest of friends and acquaintances, it pays to leverage sites such as LinkedIn and to keep a calendar (digital or otherwise) to track invitations, dinner dates, or a friend’s achievement. And though social media is an excellent way to stay part of the network, don’t neglect handwritten notes for especially important relationships, or to rebuild those burned bridges that occasionally occur.

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About Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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