Building and maximising relationships


PS: If you think life is mechanical, this is not for you.

This is a continuation of last week’s newsletter where I shared the little I have learnt (and learning) about networks and relationships. Today’s version will be instructive and straight to the point. I learned these things through observation and inquiry from my mentor and while practising them by myself. Also, working as a journalist with reputable newspapers has helped me see firsthand the power of relationships.

One day, I and my boss were on our way to see a high profiled client. I was disorganised and sweating profusely from the Lagos traffic brouhaha. We had to sit somewhere, relaxed and wiped my face. To cut a long story short, he said how you appear before people that matter matters.

Then I remembered Joseph, the first immigrant (I like to say expatriate) to be ancient Egypt’s prime minister. He was much needed in the government house but they still had to clean him up after taking him out of prison because there is a manner of appearance before Pharaoh. The same principle still applies today.

Let’s move. Four things you must learn to build and maximise relationships.

Be interested

You cannot form a genuine relationship with someone you are not interested in (note that interest is relative). It is one of the reasons I said in last week’s newsletter that the best relationships evolve mutually (because you will not need to say or do much to make it happen. The connection go just click like lock and key).

Something must pull you to that person. And most times, it’s the similar core values you share. People that I am mostly attracted to are people that I either want to be like or look like me (internally). So, you will most likely not get a ‘genuine’ relationship up and running if there is no attraction.

When there is an interest, it is easy to accept their flaws and weaknesses. This works the same way with romantic relationships too. You will have problems, now or later, if you don't share the same core values with your partner (those with similar values still deh get problems sef let alone…). So, the first step is to be interested in who you seek to form a relationship with.

When people perceive that you’re interested in them (because no matter how highly placed a person is, they have needs too), they are more motivated to attend to you. Sometimes I read up on guests who will be at an event before I arrive at the venue. I read about their companies, what they do and what I can do for them. Unless your father is Dangote whose name can do the magic.

So, when I am at the party and get the chance to talk to them, I have and know what to say. And not just what to say but what interests them. If my plan doesn't work, I flow with their tide and talk about what they want to talk about at that time. That’s why you should be versatile and well-read.

Moreover, it is easy to accept some people because you have seen their influence and achievement. Let's leave this part here.

Be visible

Find a way to be visible in the life of these people (those you want to connect with). Visibility will help you buy your way into their heart. and when you have a space in someone’s heart, they can move mountains for you.

However, you must be a person of value. Especially if the person you are trying to connect with is ‘up there.’ You must strive to be a person of value; a high performer in what you do. Not just that, you must be competent and confident too. Powerful people like to work with the best people.

Lest I forget, stop attending all kinds of free events. Pay for certain events and go there. That is where you will meet people of higher class. Many people are shortchanging themselves in this regard and it's a sign of the poverty mentality. Only poor people think attending paid events is a waste of money.

No matter your status and level, everyone at an event relates equally to each other. They all assume that if you are there, then there's something special about you even if na smuggle deh smuggle you inside unless you allow low self-esteem to blow your cover. Lol.

Do you think some people went to Havard, Covenant, Oxford, Lagos Business School and co to ‘really’ study? No. Many people went there to network and meet with people. Some people even enrol specifically because they heard that a certain person will be teaching a class that academic year. The calibre of classmates you’ll sit together in class with can set you up for greatness forever.

In addition, always have something to offer. It’s easy to forget you if you just mention your name and go away. Leave yourself with the person in any way you can. If your words aren’t powerful enough, your gift can. Buy them a book or something they’ll always remember you with. the goal is to create a connection. I have learnt not to go visit people empty-handed. I want to keep myself in their heart and consciousness.

If you’re asking “I don't know the kind of stuff they like” or “What can someone possibly buy for a wealthy person?” Do your due diligence. Talk to their PAs, talk to someone close to them or ask their spouse (if you have a relationship with them). It’s all part of the strategy. If you have nothing to give, offer them free services. Ask their acquaintance what they are working on and ‘shuk’ your head inside. They need help too. They’re not superman. Just find it. I have never gone wrong with a book sha.

So much to say but just do your best. Know that sometimes you may need to hang around for a while until your opportunity comes.

Be Knowledgeable

This can work both before and after you’ve gotten the chance to connect. Know as much as you can about them. when you do, you can know where you fit in in their lives. What is their history? What are their beliefs? Interests? Fears? vision? challenges? strengths? And even weaknesses. These things work for every kind of relationship. Isn't it sweet that someone knows what you want without you saying it? It’s because you have studied them enough.

At one of my former workplaces, I tried to study my boss. He was obsessed with excellence. So, no shabby job. He was in constant need of clearing tasks off his desk so he can think about the future of the company, I tried to fill in with clearing the tasks. He had a lot of calls, emails and messages to attend to, I tried to do that too. Sustaining relationships require work.

Know all there is to know about these people so you can know how to help them and fit for their use and purpose. Yeah, I said use. Because only useful heads can be used.

Be Committed

This is the true test of any relationship. People that are in your life to use you will never be committed to you. And relationships are not one-off, they are sustained by commitment.

You claim to be in love with someone but he/she has never asked you about any plan for your life, your family, your parents or what your aspirations are. It’s just sex, vibes and gutter talk. You’re a lamb on the altar of sacrifice. Lol. All human relationships require commitment. That’s the SI unit for measuring it (add sacrifice to that too).

Essential parts of commitment are keeping your presence in their life, checking up on them, attending their events, buying their products and services, sending gifts, liking and commenting on their social media posts, reaching out on their special days and anniversaries, etc.

You can’t ask people for a relationship when you’ve never bought their book, paid to attend their classes and events, or keep tabs on them in any way. It's not done. Even unseen forces of nature will not allow it to happen. You walk out of someone’s life for years only to return with a request for money? Haba! That relationship is already in a comma. It's rusty. Start with resurrecting it first before making any request. If you like, run away again.

To summarise this newsletter, service is the way to a (wo)man’s heart and in all your dealings with people you want a relationship with, never put money first. Trust before money. Win their heart first and their pocket will open to you. SELAH




Social Change Agent in the Public Interest. [Email:]

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Olamide Francis

Olamide Francis

Social Change Agent in the Public Interest. [Email:]

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