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Developing Relationships at Home, Work, the Community and BNI

by Richard Foulkes

Building Relationships

One of BNI’s Core Values is to Build Relationships. In BNI building relationships means generating trust that brings friendship and referrals. But we don’t need to just build relationships in BNI, we need to build them everywhere in our lives as having human connection is one of the keys to happiness.

We know how to work to build relationships in BNI through one-to-ones, giving referrals, attending meetings, having a positive attitude etc – we keep relationships front and centre in BNI all the time. Sometimes it’s easy to forget to build relationships in other areas of our life.

So lets look at how, very simply, we build or maintain relationships at home, at work and in the community.

Building Relationships at Home

Home is where the heart is but it’s easy to take it and the people in it for granted, especially as we are busy business owners. Sometimes just remembering to say thank you is enough but its also important to understand how the person(s) at home like to receive thanks or appreciation for who they are and what they do. For some words will be enough, others appreciate gifts or genuine offers of help or just your time. If it’s the latter, its crucial to be fully present when giving your time.

Building Relationships at Work

In the cut and thrust of the work environment as a business owner or employee, its also easy to forget the little extras that build relationships. It doesn’t have to be a raise or an expensive gift. Noticing and appreciating others’ efforts and offering genuine words of thanks is often enough. But what if they have gone above and beyond and not, for instance, said “that’s not my job”? What about giving them time off, arranging childcare for a date night, movie tickets or a prezzie card. Not only will they feel appreciated but they will tell others which will encourage a culture of the same behaviours.

Building Relationships in the Community

Our communities are very important. Our clubs, schools and service organisations all run with the help of volunteers. Volunteering is often a thankless task even though it is often its own reward. But as a member or participant in those organisations, just saying thank you goes a long way to make the volunteers feel their work is appreciated and build your relationships in those communities. It can be as simple as taking the time to acknowledge an email newsletter and the effort it took for the volunteer to write it or by saying yes when they ask for help so they don’t shoulder all the work.


Remembering to say Thank You goes along way to keeping and building relationships. Words are often enough but something more tangible can create a culture of positivity and reciprocity.

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