Relationology: the power of relationships

My great friend Matt Bird has been helping people work relationally for years. Recently he has been working on a book so that even more people can benefit. The book is published now and you can get it here. This is an interview with Matt that we did to celebrate the launch of the book. Enjoy!
Where does relationology come from?
A few years ago I was asked to speak at a business conference on ‘networking’. I declined, explaining that I don’t like networking because I find it superficial and manipulative and that I’m simply passionate about building long term mutually beneficial relationships. The conference organiser immediately asked if I would speak on that subject. It wouldn’t be good to become known as the ‘anti-networking guru’ so I wanted to think of a positive identity. As I pondered the subject of relationships I realised that they are a science because we can all learn to do them better however they are also an art form because they take a life time to master. Then I had one of those ‘ahha’ moments – the art and science of relationships, the study of relationships… Relationology! I googled the word and no-one was using it so I bought the domains, trade marked the name and started the company.
Does Relationology only work for extroverts?
You don’t need to be a networker, extrovert or salesman to value people and make building relationships a priority. Building relationships at home, work and leisure is something we all do and something we can all learn to do better. Obviously this is the case irrespective of our personality and temperament preferences.
What are your five top tips/challenges to introverts?
1 Recognise that as an introvert you are probably really good at keeping in contact with the people that really matter to you.
2 You may find meeting new people exhausting, so you can help yourself by developing some strategies for meeting new people.
3 Design your role within your team or organisation to play to your strengths of building deep relationships.
4 As an internal processor you think by reflecting, so work hard at telling people what you are thinking.
5 It may be helpful to turn up your volume or assert yourself in order to get heard by extroverts.
What are your five top tips/challenges to extroverts?
1 Recognise that as an extrovert you are probably really good at meeting new people.
2 You may find keeping in contact with all the people you know difficult so help yourself by developing systems for keeping in contact with people.
3 Design your role within your team or organisation to play to your strengths of building a wide circle of relationships.
4 You are an external processor and you think by speaking, so work hard at listening to others.
5 It may be helpful to turn down your volume or moderate yourself when you are with people who are introverts.
What difference does Relationology make?
Recently Relationology completed some market research about the difference that having a strong network of relationships makes. Firstly, a network of relationships provides ‘support’ through understanding, empathy and encouragement. As the song goes, ‘We all need someone to lean on’. Secondly, a network of relationships are a powerful source of ‘information’ where you can find the answers to questions you have. As the advert says, ‘I know a man who can’.Thirdly, a network of relationships create ‘opportunities’ which might be the next job on your career path, a new business lead that results in a contract or a strategic partner for the project you are working on. Remember some of the best jobs are never advertised they are offered to people that are known by the employer.
Can you give an example of where Relationology has worked?
At one of my Relationology Masterclasses I discussed with participants the value of keeping a ‘wish list’ of people they would like to meet one day and the importance of believing they can meet anyone they want to. Two weeks later one of the Masterclass participants telephoned me to explain that shortly after the Masterclass he had seen a competition to spend a day with international guru Seth Godin. He continued to explain that Seth was number one on his ‘wish list’, he had nearly shrugged off the competition because he thought that it would be so competitive, then he remembered our discussion. Anyway two weeks later he telephoned me to say that he was one of ten people who had won the competition and was flying to New York to spend the day with Seth!
Is Relationology really relationship building or manipulation?
Some approaches such as ‘networking’ have the unfortunate reputation of building relationships for what you can get out of them. This ‘give to get’ philosophy does feel manipulative. Relationology is very different, it advocates building authentic relationships based on generosity and a focus on what you can give into a relationship and how you and the relationship grow as a result. This is what I like to call a ‘give to grow’ approach.
Fundamentally I believe that the quality of our relationships is the greatest determinator of our life happiness and vocational success. So relationships are too important to leave to chance, so be proactive about valuing people and building authentic relationships – become a Relationologist 😉
You can find out more about relationology here