5 Keys to Building Business Relationships

To illustrate the definitions of these terms, we will explain them using two people: “You” (the center of the network) and “Friend” (which could be your friend, neighbor, or any other person).

Three of the keys measure the relationship between You and your Friend:

  1. Credibility
    Your character and your competence; your ability to “walk your talk” and do well the job that you claim to be able to do; your demonstrated credentials, capability, and reliability; your value to the other person. Your Credibility is different for every Friend in your network, because different people have different opinions about You, based on their personal experiences with You.
  2. Relevance
    The Friend’s value to you, defined as the Friend’s ability to contribute to your specific goals, interests, and/or needs. The Friend’s Relevance is typically driven by his or her credibility, reliability, integrity, and seniority.
  3. Strength
    The closeness of the relationship between you and your Friend. This reflects how much time you spend together, the length of the relationship, and the degree of trust and reciprocity in your relationship.

The fourth key measures the number of people in your network:

  1. Number
    How many people you are linked to directly in your network.


Lastly, the fifth key measures the diversity of your network:

  1. Diversity
    Heterogeneity of your network, by age, sex, ethnicity, profession, tenure, hierarchical position, functional specialty, location, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, and every other relevant measure.
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