When I write about getting better results from your business reports, I usually write about knowing your audience, having a structure, linking your argumentation, and writing value-added, action-oriented recommendations. Those are some of the main ingredients for sure. But they aren’t the only ingredients.
The truth is, getting better results from your business reports starts way before the research, analysis and writing. It begins with successful business relationships.
I haven’t lost my mind. You see, I work with two truths every day:
- Your report is your business card.
- Relationships are a cornerstone to success.
So what does one have to do with the other?
I believe that to be successful in business (and in life), you must build and nurture relationships. I’m talking about all relationships. Relationships with clients, colleagues, senior management in your organization, within your network, and with those you come into contact with every day in your professional life.
Yes, I’m including the person who empties your trash at work, the guy who hands you your coffee in the coffee shop, and the IT Hotline representative who keeps your printer functioning long after the warranty has run out.
Every single person we interact with, every conversation, email, call or meeting is a reflection of and on us. It’s an opportunity to listen, to help, to learn and to create.
Build relationships, and you will build bridges to:
- Knowledge, because we can ask people for opinions, references, sources, ideas and feedback.
- Agreement, because when we understand, trust and respect each other, we place more value on each other and our work products.
- Action, because when we present our results, we have the opportunity to create positive impact, to influence outcomes, and to inspire others.
Building strong business relationships starts with you: your communication skills, your behavior and your reactions to situations. It means sharing knowledge and helping others willingly, with little or no expectation of something directly in return. It means engaging, caring, trusting and respecting.
Success in relationships is the foundation. Business reports are the work product. Better results are the outcome.