This week I’m doing a series of blogs on building relational equity. This is super important for anyone who wants to have influence or just have real friendships.
Relational equity simply means that someone is growing in worth as it relates to the people in their sphere of relationship and/or influence more and more as time passes.
Relational equity is affected with every interaction you have. If the person you’re connecting with has a positive experience with you, you gain some relational equity. If the person you’re connecting with has a negative experience with you, some relational equity is removed from the relational equity account.
Many leaders don’t understand, or are unwilling to embrace, the fact that the moment you make eye contact with someone offers the opportunity to build relational equity.
Imaging I’m in the lobby of the church and I make eye contact with a group member or a person on the fringes of church life. The moment our eyes meet we have made a relational connection. What happens next is huge. There are three options, each of which has a different outcome on the relational equity building continuum.
- Quickly turn my gaze in another direction immediately disengaging which is not only unkind and uncouth, it’s uncharacteristic of anyone wanting to build relational equity. In fact, anyone that does this will remove major points from their relational equity account.
- Smile, wave, and move on in another direction. In this instance, you’ve recognized the person’s worth, connected with them visually, and given them access if they’d like to move in your direction for further conversation. You don’t gain many points on the equity scale but you certainly haven’t removed any either.
- Smile, move toward them, greet them with a handshake or hug, and begin a conversation with them. This is the scenario that you want to see take place with those people you’re wanting to build deep relational equity with. Notice all of the actions listed as each of them is essential. You made eye contact with them which tells them you want to connect with them, you’ve moved toward them and in doing that you’ve subconsciously announced that I want to be in your relational space, you’ve touched them by shaking their hand or hugging them, which takes the momentary connection to a deeper level than if you had approached them without any human touch, and you’ve started a conversation with them, telling them that you not only care to be with them, but that you care to know their thoughts, ideas, and what’s taking place in their daily lives.