Building Business Relationships

It's almost redundant these days to say that the Internet is a powerful tool for building relationships. Since websites like Facebook and LinkedIn rose to popularity in the past few years, we've all found ourselves reaching out--and being reached out to--more than we ever have before.

When I became pregnant with my son a few years ago, I went online to find information. Of course, I had all kinds of questions--questions for which even the Internet didn't have answers. I also stumbled upon a discussion forum for women in my situation.

Throughout my pregnancy and the first few months after my son was born, I formed a close online bond with several of these women, who introduced me to several others. We created a group online and would talk about our children, of course. But we also talked about other things--our careers, our relationships, even mundane everyday activities. I realized I could go to them for just about anything. And today, that's exactly what I do.

Relationships are a critical element of our successes in both our personal and professional lives. Whether we're looking for support for a personal crisis or seeking advice for a project at work, the first people we think to go to are those we respect and trust the most. Historically, those people were family members, co-workers, former college classmates or mentors. But since the advent of social media, our access to more knowledgeable and supporting people has widened. All we have to do is look for and reach out to them.

In this month's feature story ("10 Tips To Strengthen Relationships with Outside Counsel"), InsideCounsel takes a look at the importance of relationships, particularly between in-house and outside counsel. In today's economic environment--where asking your outside counsel to do more with less is the norm--it's even more critical to maintain trust and respect.

If you haven't already, reach out to those people through social media. Connecting with them on LinkedIn, Facebook or any other networking site you may use may be the extra step you need to cultivate that relationship--and it may lead you to other valuable resources you didn't even know were there.

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