NetworkingRelationships_crop380wI’ve recently heard stories like these from successful business leaders:

“When I was a child, my family was so poor we searched dumpsters for food. Now I’ve decided to create wealth and help others create wealth through real estate investments.

“I ignored a prompting to give my brother a hug and tell him I loved him. He was killed in an accident and now I’ve created a business to help people act on their promptings by sending heartfelt cards and gifts.”

“I was on the verge of financial and emotional collapse because of my debt. Now I help people get out of debt and plan for their financial futures.”

Friday’s ELP meeting in Sandy dealt with an element of relationships rarely discussed in a business setting – intimacy. We intuitively know that family members, spouses and close friends are more bonded to us when we’re “real” and authentic, showing our vulnerabilities. When it comes to business relationships, however, we often miss opportunities to connect because we fail to appreciate the role of intimacy in business.

No, you don’t have to wear your emotions on your sleeves, but it is a good idea to tell your customers, prospects, partners, investors and employees the story behind your decision to launch your business. An essential feature of that story is an explanation of the underlying feelings that caused you to leave the status quo and pursue entrepreneurialism. Another important element is to describe the feelings you want to achieve in the marketplace and workplace as a result of your business. As “touchy feely” as this might sound, it is a way to connect with people at a deeper level.

People care more about the “why” than they do about the “how,” but we spend more time explaining what we’re doing and how we’re doing it than we do about the emotional reasons for developing our products and services.

With social media and other tools, we have unprecedented opportunities to convey the emotional nuances of our “Why I’m doing this” story to large groups of people. As people come to understand and identify with our stories, they are attracted to authenticity.

How could you be more authentic in your business life? In what ways could you have a more intimate relationship with people you meet? What is YOUR purpose for doing what you’re doing? If you’ll take the time to answer these questions for yourself and develop effective ways of communicating your story to others, you’ll have much more meaningful and profitable relationships.

By Chuck Chamberlain, ELP Editor-in-Chief