Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Building bridges

I BELIEVE that it is a grave tragedy for one to be out of touch with the wonderful people God sends their way. It is strategic to build and maintain a coherent network of relevant alliances with future-oriented and value-adding people. The people we associate and mingle with wield a significant influence on the direction our lives lead us. We deal with people at different levels and in diverse circumstances and contexts of our lives; in our offices, schools and churches. We also associate with people in the streets, market places and on public transport. Whichever angle one looks at it, people we meet influence us one way or the other. Our relationships could either make us or break us. We must therefore be committed to consolidating relationships that impact us positively.


It’s often said that the people you meet on your way up are the same people you meet on the way down. If this assertion is anything to go by, then it’s imperative that we watch how we treat the people in our lives. We must deal respectfully and graciously with the people we interact with. Never dismiss anybody in your life. Life is an interdependent phenomenon and what goes around comes around. The people who depend on you today might become the ones you would look up to tomorrow. The person who relies on you today for school fees might be the one to give you healthcare when you are indisposed. Your classmate might become your employer. Whoever we encounter in any sphere of life, it’ll be in our own interest to be courteous towards them.


A simple, inexpensive way to close the gap between you and the people you meet is to be able to smile genuinely. It is said to be the shortest distance between two people. It is an effective ice breaker; it has the capability of instantly connecting you with people. Smiling stimulates trust between people and fosters cooperation. When you smile to people, you tell them, “I’m for real, you can count on me.” So, the next time you meet somebody, don’t forget to smile.


It’s also important that we show genuine interest in people. By showing interest in people, you win their trust, commitment and loyalty. How do you show genuine interest in people? Simple; know people by their name. A person’s name is the sweetest sound in their ears. When answering the phone, say something like, “Hi Eric, how are you doing?” In applying for a job, use the name of the addressee in your salutation. So instead of “Dear Sir,” you can write “Dear Mr Asamoah.” Such an opening will grasp the person’s unreserved attention straight away. If you are good at names, you’ll be good with people.


Regarding people you have close ties with, you may have to step beyond their names to know them more deeply. Know their priorities, understand their interests and passions. We must be fully aware of their dreams and aspirations and be instrumental in bringing them into tangible existence. It is in doing so that we can elicit their cooperation towards achieving our own goals. This is quite consistent with Zig Ziglar’s mantra that “You can get whatever you want if you help enough other people to get what they want.” Remember the age-old saying; “hand go, hand come?” Beyond smiling and name-calling, this is how to demonstrate that you are indisputably interested in another person.


Furthermore, we could show interest by celebrating with people on special occasions. Making a phone call to say “happy birthday” will only enhance your relationship with the people in your life. When your friend or colleague hits a milestone such as college graduation, wedding anniversary or promotion at the workplace, it provides an avenue for you to boost your relationships.


Finally, I would like us to consider Turner’s remarks; “The mind of people is like mud, from which arise strange and beautiful things.” I’m in absolute agreement with Turner. People exude strange and beautiful things. What we get from them hinges on what they get from us. The relationships we nurture and invest in influence the success or otherwise of our lives. We must determine to build relationships that impact positively on our destiny.

1 comment:

  1. In addition to smiling and calling people by their names, we should make more eye contact. Touch them if we can, hug them, shake hands with them, or tap them. It really helps. We should speak to the spirit/energy in people. We should connect with people on a much deeper level....

    btw, am proud of you, Terry!