Lesson 5, Topic 1
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Bob Littell September 19, 2023
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Is there a process which we typically go through from the time we meet someone for the very first time to the point at which we have established and achieved the pinnacle of relationship-building – Trust?

Think of relationship building as a pyramid with an area below the base representing things like body chemistry, vibes, genetic or sociological predispositions which may trigger stereotypical thinking or first impressions of which we’re not even aware. 

We can’t really do much about these.  They exist within all of us when we meet someone for the first time. In some cases, these factors may help accelerate the process; in other cases, they may form roadblocks.

The challenge becomes, how do we go from this first impression stage to the pinnacle of relationship-building where we attain and maintain trust?  And are there ways to accelerate the process?

Conversation Starter – Small Talk

Most relationship-building starts when the communication process begins, and someone opens their mouth. This usually involves some form of small talk – the weather, sports, family, a brief discussion about what each person does.  This is that typical awkward stage when we’re both trying to just get the conversation going and we’re looking for some more comfortable ‘hook’ to get it started.

The problem with this small talk stage is that it’s so comfortable and non-threatening that conversations tend to stay at this superficial level which does very little to move the relationship to the next level.

But, if someone in an individual or group conversation takes the initiative, maybe showing courage is a better description, to elevate the conversation to what we term, meaningful dialogue, things begin to happen.

Meaningful Dialogue

We describe meaningful dialogue as any conversation in which there is learning and growth – where you think or say to yourself after hearing it – thank you, I’m a better or more informed person because you shared that.  It also allows you to observe another side of someone which you would not have ordinarily seen while the conversation stayed at the superficial small talk level .Without realizing it, engaging in meaningful dialogue which does not turn into a debate, allows you to connect with the other person because it tends to raise your appreciation of and acceptance for them, especially if you can empathize with the experience or information they are sharing.

Follow up & Follow Through

Sadly though, this is the level at which most potential relationships die.  Why?  No one follows up. You have that great conversation.  You both really feel as if you’re beginning to connect and you both promise to stay in touch and even get together if the introduction and connection can be made locally, but then again, no one follows up and the connection weakens and eventually dies. 

The Secret Sauce of NetWeaving

And that’s the secret sauce of NetWeaving.  It provides the strategies and the action steps for keeping the process growing until you truly bond.  And it’s at that point at which trust is truly established.

But once you’ve bonded and achieved trust, does that mean you’ve got it for good?  Absolutely not.  Unless you find ways to stay in touch and to continue to follow up and follow through, people will begin to doubt your sincerity and genuineness and the relationship will dim and fade over time.