This is what relationship building looks like… a Gatorade bath. Literally. That’s me somewhere under the umbrella of blue Gatorade hitting my grey suit. If you’re a sports fan, you’ll also recognize this scene as fairly common after a big win.
Here’s what isn’t common – me smack dab in the middle of the celebration. But when Guillermo Heredia scored the game-winning run for the Seattle Mariners in the 13th inning of the game against the Boston Red Sox, he insisted which is how it became a relationship building opportunity.
Heredia speaks very little English, so up to that point in the season he was never tapped for a “walk-off” interview. (The interviews that happen live in the dugout immediately following the final out of the game.) He had, however, seen plenty of them and knew the usual set up for those types of interviews. Heredia knew that I always stand next to the player in the dugout and in front of the camera. So when I tried to follow the suggestion of his teammate Danny Valencia and get out of the way by moving to the top step of the dugout, Heredia knew something was amiss.
“No, no,” he said smiling and pointing to the exact spot I would usually occupy. He then positioned himself accordingly, put his arm around my shoulder braced for the icy cold Gatorade.
I think I squealed. (I think most people would, it’s pretty cold.) And I knew I had taken another step in building a stronger relationship with someone I see and work with every day.
Heredia wanted me to stand there. To experience the moment with him. That’s how relationships are built.
My self-interest was secondary. Who cares that I would get cold? Who cares that my suit would be wet and sticky? Who cares what my hair and makeup would look like on TV after that?
Developing better business relationships requires you to be where your colleague needs you to be.
Sometimes your colleague needs you to show up in a physical space other times it’s a matter of being attentive to what they’re saying, or present in a conversation.Going through the motions doesn't build good business relationships. Active and engaged effort does. Click To Tweet
Your relationship building opportunities probably won’t include a Gatorade bath. Heck, it’s not included in most of the interviews, which is why I have to look for ways to build relationships through the conversations I have with players every day. You can do the same thing.
Commit spending 3-5 minutes today talking to a colleague, about something they want to talk about other than work. Remember, your self-interest in secondary which means, even if the subject matter bores you to tears, you need to engage and actively listen.
Or you could try a surprise Gatorade bath.
Jen Mueller, America’s Expert Talker, is obviously a member of the Seattle Mariners television broadcast team based on the photos shown in this post. She’s also the radio sideline reporter for the Seattle Seahawks (and dodges much less Gatorade in that position.) Jen founded Talk Sporty to Me in 2009 and makes sports useful in business conversations. Hire Jen for your next business communication training session. Jen@TalkSportytoMe.com