Business: Cocktails & Conversations
There are four fundamental components in a cocktail: the spirit, the balancing agents, modifiers, and the water.
The spirit is the base, hence the principal component of a cocktail. One can choose from gin, rum, whiskey, and a variety of other sprits for the base. The balancing agents, such us citrus or sugar, gives the cocktail its character, enhancing the base. The modifiers, usually alcoholic like fortified wine or a liqueur, softens the base and adds flavor to the drink. Last but not the least, water, in the form of ice, is surprisingly the make-or-break ingredient in a cocktail. Put too much and it dilutes your drink; put too little it doesn’t quite mix all the flavors together.
The perfect flavor-balanced cocktail is often achieved when all four elements are mixed in a perfect ratio. For bartenders, the golden ration is 2:1:1.
Speaking of cocktails, here’s a fun fact for you. Did you know that business relationships often blossom over lunch or happy hour?
Building business relationships is much like a cocktail. That applies to any business relationship: business partners, co-workers, clients, customers, and other service providers. You must have a strong base (TRUST), balancing agents (EMPATHY), modifiers (COMMUNICATION), and just the right amount of water in the form of ice cubes (FOLLOW-UP).
To build a strong business relationship, you must have a strong base. And truly the foundation of any relationship is trust. Your business partner trusts you with helping them grow and run the business. Co-workers trust that everyone on the team is doing their part to see a project through. Clients and customers trust you’ll deliver on what goods or services you promised them. You build that trust for these relationships to flourish. You can always start by making a good first impression (again, going back to our Seven Strategies).
Adding on to your base is your balancing agent. In a business relationship, that’s empathy. Put yourself in their shoes and find out what’s important to them. Understand their concerns and have their interest at heart. Let it show in your suggestions to them or in your interest in the well-being of their outcomes. Every relationship is an investment. Make sure they know you’re as invested in this business relationship as they are. It’ll increase their trust and confidence in your relationship, enhancing that base of trust.
Now, modify that relationship with communication. Communication ties in the two elements of trust and empathy. You can’t grow trust and have empathy without communication. Effective and constant communication is essential to building, growing, and sustaining business relationships. Communication enables you to set clear goals and expectations for both you and your client and even your employees. It ensures transparency, improves customer service, and earns loyalty. In the long run, it’s better to communicate too much than not to communicate at all.
The final component, the water in our business relationship cocktail— is follow-up (which happens to tie in to once again, our Seven Strategies). Follow-up is the feedback loop of a business relationship. Reaching out on a regular basis strengthens the trust, shows your empathy, and allows you to communicate. It all ties in together with one element complimenting the other. Just like that perfect cocktail.
With that, we raise our glasses to successful business relationships. May we find that golden ratio of a well-balanced business cocktail! Cheers! Salud! Sláinte!