At a meeting of the local city council, an economic development representative from the neighboring community was on the agenda. It was a goodwill visit – just providing updates and not asking for anything at this juncture – but it went a long way to prime the relationship so that it is solid when the time does come for a favor.
Here are some examples of how he did so:
- Showered great appreciation to the mayor and city administrator for the time allocation on the agenda
- Shared highlights of economic development success – and gave the council credit as “part of a team that worked together.”
- Showed deference to all the city officials, referring to them by their formal titles
- Promised that he would be “candid and unvarnished” in his report and answers to questions
- Answered with “excellent question” to all of his queries
- Ended with the statement: “If you are ever feeling down, call me to make you feel good. Seriously, you folks are great. Keep doing what you’re doing.”
He spoke for less than five minutes, but that time was well invested. The council knows who he is, knows that he knows who they are and that he sees them as partners in the economic development efforts. The next time he does need something – and surely, he will – he’s starting from a positive position instead of from scratch.
Think about the relationships that may benefit you down the road. The time is now to invest in them, rather than waiting until you need a favor. Make it a resolution to do a goodwill visit and purely show appreciation to one of your partners, with no immediate requests.