How to build professional relationships and make them stick

professional relationships

There are many different types of relationships that we build in our lives; all share similarities and have their own nuances. Building a professional relationship isn’t wholly different to building any friendship—but making them stick can be tricky.

Here are three ways you can make sure you’re on the right track. Hint: if it ever feels like the easy option, it’s probably not the best way forward.

Empathy first

Deploying empathy in our lives is so important. It allows us to be kinder to people and kinder to ourselves. It’s also a brilliant marketing and creative aid. When we’re able to relate to and connect with our audience, we’re able to offer a unique kind of value that only human connection can provide. It operates off the idea that when it comes to building relationships, the other person should always come first. That means thinking about them and their situation, rather than our own motives and agenda. When you show an interest in your audience and their needs, you’ll find that the response to what you’re putting out there is so much greater. It’s so easy to feel like just the act of reaching out is giving value, but without fully considering the other person, it’s likely we’ll miss something.

Make the offer, not the ask

It’s easy to ask things of others. We know what we need to progress and we know that what we have provides value, so it can be easy to get stuck thinking that if we just received that one big break it would change our career. “If only they played my track on the radio, everything would be fine.” This thinking comes from a scarcity mindset and it hurts more than it helps. When we feel like our only pathway forward is from external sources, we miss the brilliant opportunities around us. The flipside is an abundance mindset and we can find this just by looking for the positive in any situation. Every single situation we’re in has a positive, no matter how hidden it might be. Look for the opportunity and a simpler pathway will appear.

Next time you’re thinking about something you need, think about something you can give instead. The more we give to others, the more they’re likely to want to work with us. It’s a rare art form, giving. The more closely we use empathy to choose what to give to others, the better our relationships are likely to become.

“Do what you say you’re going to do”

I have to pull this quote from Benji Rogers (PledgeMusic), which came from our interview at the Summit. It’s so true. It’s not always easy to stick to a deadline or do everything you expect to do. Sometimes things are simply out of our control, and we find ourselves falling behind. But here’s the thing: If you can’t make it happen, make it known sooner rather than later. I’m speaking from experience on so many accounts here. Each time you feel yourself getting stuck, be ready to take accountability for your actions and know that things can be repaired—but only if you’re honest with those involved.

It’s important to plan for setbacks, but it’s just as vital that you set out to give more than you say you will at the start. That’s how we blow people’s minds. Once again, another rarity in the world.

The theme here is to avoid going for the easy option. Rarely does the easy thing work. Uploading a song or posting your website in a Facebook group doesn’t do much because it doesn’t take any effort and it doesn’t feel genuine.

Relationships are built on context between humans and if you want to grow in this space, be ready to find one way today to create a better context between you and your chosen peer. After all, we’re all in this game together and we all should be ready to have fun together along the way.

steve-palfreyman-1Steve Palfreyman is the host of the Music Launch Summit, put on by Music Launch Hub. The conference, which spans from September 13 to October 4, will feature 40-plus speakers from around the music industry, including Benji Rogers (PledgeMusic), Jennie Sager (Twitter), Rodney Holder (MusicBusiness Facts), Andrew Apanov (WeSpin), Budi Voogt (Heroic Recordings), and Ian Clifford (Make It In Music). The best part? It’s totally free to view all the talks. Save your spot for the summit here.