Relationship Management for Musicians and Arts Leaders : 3 Strategies for Making an Effective Connection with Others

My last post on developing your emotional intelligence focused on how to build successful relationships by mastering 3 communication skills.

Relationship management also means that you know what to say in order to make others feel understood and be seen as a trustworthy person. You can start by mastering 3 strategies for making an effective connection with others:


Showing that you care

Harnessing Body Language

 Let’s take a closer look at how these 3 simply strategies can help you build a strong connection with others and boost your EQ!

1. Compliment others on their strengths

Think about the last time someone complimented you on a job well done.  Feels pretty good, right?   Chances are you will pay attention to what the other person has said because often, others can see strengths in us that we do not see in ourselves. 

The habit of complimenting others on their strengths is a powerful way to build rapport with others.  To use this strategy successfully, you need to say something more than “Great job.”  The more specific you are in pointing out strengths, the more effective the feedback.

For example, mention a particular characteristic or strength when you notice it:

“Your phrasing in that difficult passage was so lyrical.  You have such a gift for expressive phrasing.”

Similarly, point out an aspect of the person’s work that you particularly appreciated:

“Thanks so much for taking the time to provide the back-up information in your report. It made the meeting so much more efficient and we were able to make a lot more progress thanks your diligent efforts.”

So start noticing when other people are doing a good job and share your observations with them in a specific way.  They will appreciate your words and see you as the kind of person who cares.

2. Show That You Care

When people work together in challenging and stressful situations, it helps to acknowledge the hard work of your teammates or ensemble members.  There are many easy ways of doing this:

  • Use the words “Please” and “Thank you”  as much as you can.  

“Thanks for all the hard work you are doing on this project. “

  • Say “I’m sorry” to acknowledge a challenging situation. 

“I’m sorry that this project has become so complicated.  Yes, it would be great to have 3 more rehearsals.  We do not have the money in the budget.  So let’s see what we can do to make each rehearsal count.”

  • Do the little things to show that you care

Send thank you emails to acknowledge hard work, leave a greeting card, bring in cookies to say thank you.  Not so hard, right?  These are the little things that show that you care, that you are compassionate and that you are trustworthy.

3. Harness Your Body Language

Relationship management also involves the way you behave so make sure that your words match your actions. Building upon your social awareness skills of listening  and paying attention to body languageyou can take these skills to the next level as follows by using the information that you are picking up from close observation and making sure that what you say is consistent with how you say it. 

If you give someone a compliment but you frown as you say it or your posture is rigid and your tone of voice is harsh,  your words will be lost because your body language is giving off a different set of cues.  In fact, your words may even backfire because people pick up when you are not being authentic precisely by reading your body language and tone of voice.  Since one of the goals of relationship management is to develop trust, be sure to align what you say with your actions.

Last but not least, we will take a look at the skill of conflict management as a way to build your relationship skills so stay tuned!