How to Build a Professional Relationship
Humans are born with the skills to develop relationships with others. As we travel through life we need to develop professional relationships with others in addition to our everyday personal ones.
What is a Professional Relationship?
A professional relationship means exactly what it states, professional. This means you do not want to share to many personal details about your life with any person you are working and/or conducting business with.
Building Professional Relationships
In order to build strong professional relationships you need to focus on a few different areas. This is because professionalism does not only exist during work hours, it also exists when you are not at work.
The first area you need to focus on is your professional image. This is determined by the level of professionalism you maintain inside and outside of the workplace. Even though you may be "clocked out" for the night that does not mean you will not run into a fellow employee or a client/customer from work. Your actions outside of work can still reflect in a positive or negative way on the company that employs you.
The second area is to maintain a boundary between your personal life and your professional life. This does not mean that you can not have any type of a personal connection with people you are in contact with at work. It just means that you need to keep the details you choose to share concerning your personal life to a minimum. You are hired to work for the company not to talk with friends all day.
The third area is to avoid gossip. I know it is easy to get caught up in a game of "he said, she said" but it is in your best interest to stay clear of it! Especially because most of those conversations can be filled with more fiction than truth. Gossiping can catch up with you later in your career, it can blindside you at any given moment. You do not want to be headed for an advancement only to find out that the person making the decision was someone you helped to spread rumors about.
The last area is to constantly focus on building new professional relationships. By doing this you will be expanding your network at the same time. As your network grows, so does your employment opportunities.
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" --The Shining
Remember to always have fun. Being professional does not mean walking around like a robot. Everyone needs to have some sort of personal connections with others both inside and outside of the workplace. By maintaining clear boundaries you will be able to keep your personal and professional lives seperate, which will help you to advance within your career!
Social Networks and Professionalism
In today's world everything we do on a day-to-day basis is shared with the whole world. This type of information is fine to share with people you have personal relationships with but it is not something that should be shared within your professional ones. Take advantage of social media settings to be sure you are sharing your posts with the people intended to see them. Also do not post anything that may affect your company, other employees, or the client/customers that you serve.