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Friday, July 31, 2009

Relationships: The Top Ten

Relationship Building:
Part 3

I really didn't mean for this to be the Business Relationship Saga, but it appears I had much more to say than a simple, "To make a friend be a friend." Let me also caution that I very hesitantly place this list out here for all to see. Lists tend to be subjective. This one is no different. In my years of relationship building, some done naturally and others done after much soul searching, this is the one that works the best for me. I would challenge you to use this list as a jumping off point and place it somewhere to remind yourself to build your relationship. I will have this posted as a pdf file on my website for you to download a copy. here:

I had friends who ran a book selling business and called their catalog, "The Always Incomplete Book Catalog" so perhaps I will subtitle this list as well.

Here is my top ten list of ways to earn a great working relationship:

Great Working Relationships
An Incomplete List
by Felice Gerwitz

1. Promptness: It is a virtue both in timeliness in turning in articles, meeting deadlines or showing up to a business meeting.

2. Be helpful: If this means getting someone a cup of coffee or going the extra mile before you are asked, this gives you the reputation for being someone who cares. One of my favorite stories is of meeting the president (I did not know HE was the president), of a rather large publishing house, wearing a company logo on his collared shirt, and asking him if I could speak to so-and-so, his employee. This man was very cordial, encouraged me to wait, and appeared helpful. His employee and I had corresponded and he wanted me to meet his boss, the President of the company, to introduce me and speak with him about my upcoming book series. When I was re-introduced to the man that I was suppose to talk to in the first place, he put me at ease with some quip about not being as sought after as the hired help. While he was the boss he worked right alongside his employees, how was I to know HE was the president of the company! I liked the man immediately.

3. Listen: Look the person in the eye when they are talking, and do not fidget—and for Heaven’s sake don’t glance at your watch! If you do need to know the time because you have an appointment, or must leave, then apologize first, before glancing at your wrist.

4. Don’t spam: This would have been in the Ten Commandments if the internet had been around in the days of Moses. No one wants to receive ten emails for something they are not interested in, nor does a publisher or agent want to receive email after email asking if they have made a decision on the piece you have submitted. Believe me when I tell you if you want a decision made quickly it will most likely be “no”.

5. Patience: Yes, this is a virtue of few but needed by anyone serious about being published. If you are patient and work within the guidelines of the system you will be happily surprised instead of sadly disappointed.

6. Be a friend first: This goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway) that it takes being a friend to earn a friendship. For example, be happy for others, help advertise some else’s blog, radio show, or well written article. Oh, and by the way, if you have a habit of gossiping…lose it fast. Gossips have caused more damage on the face of the earth than natural disasters. Someone should do a scientific study on the time wasted by gossiping. I personally have no time for this type of behavior. If someone tends to gossip, I stay away. Gossips rarely have close relationships, nor are they trustworthy people to share your information.

7. Trustworthiness: Be someone others can trust. If someone shares a story idea with you, don’t broadcast it to the world. If you see something you’d like to use (a quote from an article, book, etc.) give that person credit, or ask permission first. Respect copyright. Published authors for the most part really respect the copyright of others! People who are trustworthy go places, and often fast.

8. Remember: Don’t forget dates, deadlines or meetings. That is what planners, cell phone with notepad capabilities, calendars and computers are for (we don’t have to keep everything in our memory). Jot down the name of the person you spoke with, information about them, or the date you are suppose to call back. Put this somewhere, in a notebook, file folder or pinned to a bulletin board.

9. Follow through: Do what you said you were going to do when you said you would do it (now repeat this ten times). Seriously, this could be filed under trustworthy, or promptness but this needs a category of its own. Relationships are built on those who follow through.

10. Generosity: “You can’t out give God” is the motto I live by. Not every act of kindness goes rewarded, but that should not be your motivation. Those who are self-serving rarely come out ahead. (Okay, some do, but you don’t want to be like them!) Generosity comes easily for some and is more difficult for others. My mother was a wonderful and generous person, and I learned at her apron strings to be a giver. Not everyone has such wonderful mentors. Similar to my getting over my shyness, if you are not by nature generous, this may need to be something that is cultivated. Relationships thrive on those who are generous.

Can you do all of the above in one day? Maybe, but like trying to lose weight, those who work at it, in a slow and steady, life-style changing manner, are the ones most likely to be successful in the long run. Look over this list, and ponder these points. I welcome any comments or additions in regard to building relationships. Help me to make it the more complete relationship building list. Or better yet? Begin one of your own.


  1. Very good advice in the world just beginning to understand the value of social networking on sites such as Twitter and Facebook!

  2. Many of these overlap and appear obvious to me. But, in a world that is constantly changing, I've noticed that what appears obvious to some is not to others.