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Do You Want A Relationship?

Making business connections online is now a real possibility if approached correctly.

This week I met someone for the first time that Ive had contact with on two social media platforms in the past months (LinkedIn and Twitter for those interested in such things). As we talked about various things I told him that I hadnt thought I would EVER do this – meet someone "online" and build a relationship, prior to meeting them face-to-face. And, this isnt the first time Ive had a meeting such as this. So, it got me thinking about conversations Ive had with people over the last 18 months about building relationships.

Changed my mind
Somewhere along the line, in the last 18 months, I have become convinced that it is quite possible to build relationships with people Ive not met (yet). I cant pinpoint when or how this happened – although I know exactly who I have met face-to-face following online discussions and not vice versa as I can still count them on my fingers.

Equally, I have re-established connections with former colleagues having found them online, many of whom I had parted company with over the last years, neither of us thinking we might find it useful to stay in touch. Unless Id known exactly where they were going, Id have been highly unlikely to re-establish contact with all but a few close friends.

How did this happen?
What I know is that these relationships were built by having discussions around mutual interests or themes – group discussion boards, twitter themes, others blogs and articles. By the time we met, we both knew quite a bit about each other. I cant predict where any of my current business relationships will get to in the next few years, but I know that I have learnt to use a variety of tools to maintain these relationships and this can only enhance my network. Ive even been quoted as a LinkedIn and networking expert!

And you?
What have you learnt in the last year or so? What do you think you need to learn more about? How have your networking and relationship building strategies and activities changed? What else do you need to do?

Sue Cohen has more than 20 years experience in Learning and Development.

She started her working life as an accountant and moved into training accountancy and other technical skills, before moving into skills and management training.
Over the last 20 years, she has helped many middle and senior managers to develop their management and personal skills including teamwork and leadership, performance management, networking and collaboration skills.

For a number of years, she was the senior manager within an in-house training team for a large firm of accountants, managing a team of trainers and the budgets, along with various firm-wide projects.
She now works as an independent learning consultant, largely with professional services firms.

As you can see from her book, her work with LinkedIn has evolved alongside her consultancy business. The use of LinkedIn has become an important element of her work with clients on relationship-building and networking skills.

Outside of work, Sue is a busy family person and relaxes with Sudoku puzzles and knitting.

Links / contact
(+44) 07971 400653 / (+44) 020 8953 6477

Sue Cohen

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