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“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” –African Proverb

If you have ever tried to achieve something of significance, you probably already know how difficult it is to do it all by yourself. But it isn’t just for the sake of accomplishing tasks that the need for coming together arises. We are social animals, with an innate drive to bond. Just think of how much time and effort we invest in forming and maintaining social relationships.

It isn’t always that people fit in or find a real connection in social networks. Are you having trouble in this area? Perhaps the question to ask is: why would people want to associate with you? Here are some thoughts on skills you can develop to thrive in, and positively contribute to the success of, your social networks:

  1. Cooperating. Be willing to work together with other people. It may be that you will need to be adaptive and flexible to accommodate the needs, views and preferences of other people. This calls for commitment. Action, not words, is the real measure of your commitment. Your commitment will inspire and attract people to you.
  2. Communicating. Without communication, you travel alone. Be ready to actively listen to your group members and to communicate freely without hoarding. When having difficult conversations, or voicing a different opinion, learn to minimize the arousal of negative emotions by conveying your ideas respectfully.
  1. Comforting. Life gives us all kinds of situations and circumstances, some more challenging than others. Be ready to support other members of your social group to maintain a positive and healthy psychological state. Learn to show empathy and build feelings of confidence and self-worth among group members.
  2. Resolving Conflict. Conflict is inevitable even among the best of friends. What’s important is to know how to resolve disagreements when they arise. Always focus discussion on the issue and maintain respect for group members who may hold different views.
  3. Building Trust. Relationships depend on the level of trust and the degree of positive expectations towards each other. The level of trust is influenced by how predictable your behavior is, the network’s shared values, the degree of mutual trust, and the emotional bond between you and your group.

The secret to life is giving, for what you give lives.
Copyright ©2014 David Waweru

David Waweru

Author David Waweru

Writer, entrepreneur, trainer and consultant. Founder of Booktalk Africa and Will to Win Global. Member of the UNESCO Expert Facility on the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. Director at the Sports, Arts and Culture Sector Board, Kenya Private Sector Alliance.

More posts by David Waweru

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