Did you know that most people make up their first impression of someone in the first 7-10 seconds of interacting with them? The amazing aspect is that the other person doesn’t even have to say anything! It has a great deal to do with how they look, how they carry themselves, and the context of the interaction – whether they were on time, who they were with, how they arrived, etc.

More importantly, once an initial interaction has been established, sociologists tell us that we give a little, they take, they judge, they give a little, we take, we judge, and we give a little more back. This exchange continues for some time and the more comfortable we feel in that interaction, the more we tend to get beyond a facade and share pertinent or particularly valuable information. As such, most people cement their initial impression in the first 10 minutes of the interaction. Most people have two opportunities from that initial interaction – they’ll either enhance their perceived credibility or dilute it. In what they say, what they do, how they behave, the value-add they bring to the table, and the caliber of the questions they ask!

So, here are five ideas to think about as you engage your most valuable business relationships:

1. Always look the part, be prompt, and do your homework before you show up!
2. Ask engaging and compelling questions to demonstrate your credibility and interest.
3. Provoke, provide a contrarian perspective, add-value in every interaction
4. Deliver what you promise, when you promise it – we tend to overestimate what we can accomplish in the short-term, and underestimate what we can achieve in the long term.
5. Remember the Relationship Currency Roadmap – what business goal am I trying to achieve that I can without a portfolio of relationships, who do I need, who do I know, how do I add value to key members of my relationship bank consistently to accelerate access to or an opportunity with the relationships I need to accelerate my ability to get things done!

I continue to be surprised by those who write me to say that the process actually works! Basketball at its core, is about dribbling, passing and shooting. Relationships at their core are about value-based interactions, credibility, and trust consistently over a period of time.

How are you adding value to everyone you meet at every opportunity?

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