Whether you are a job seeker or just starting a new  job, you can’t ignore the rules of building and maintaining relationships. The ability to establish good relationships is essential for building a successful career. Martin Zwilling, blogging for Forbes.com, dips into Jan Yager’s latest book “Productive Relationships: 57 Strategies for Building Stronger Business Connections,” and offers these top tips for building good relationships:

  1. Create a favorable first impression. You only get one chance for a first impression. Don’t miss an opportunity for face-to-face communication, where you can use body language, which scientists say constitutes more than 50% of all communication.
  2. Proactively form relationships with positive types. These are the people who will help you thrive and prosper. They include real mentors, facilitators, visionaries, motivators, and negotiators.
  3. Find a way to motivate others to want to get along with you. Understand your own agenda, and figure out the agenda of others, hidden or obvious, to make it a win-win relationship. How can you appeal to others so you can work together?
  4. Reexamine your attitude toward conflict. Some conflict in the workplace is inevitable. The key is how to deal with it effectively. Recognize points of view, respond to what happened, resolve what needs to be resolved, and reflect on the lessons learned. Then move on.
  5. Deal with the “back-off” before it turns antagonistic. When a conflict occurs, rather than have a confrontation, someone needs to backs off. You can’t make someone want to deal with you, but you can try to increase their motivation to deal with you — like getting together for lunch, or trying to communicate in another way.
  6. Benefit from harsh feedback about your work. Receiving criticism is never easy. Try some recovery techniques, like taking a deep breath, give yourself time, and look at the issue from their perspective. Keep your initial response short and sweet and in control.
  7. Use social networking to build and improve your business relationships. Savvy workers at all levels are using these sites to develop and strengthen their business relationships as well as to reconnect with previous business connections. Make your own luck by giving and seeking referrals.
Compounding these strategies in today’s business environment are two divergent concepts: a heightened degree of competitiveness, and a greater emphasis on teamwork. This means you need even more emphasis on effectively engaging others, and learning to deal effectively with potentially negative work relationships. Success in today’s collaborative, customer-driven, networked economy requires real business relationship efforts by everyone involved. No matter where you are in the spectrum, there is no time like the present to kick it up a notch