I once spent almost two days in a workshop being completely ignored by the three people sitting at the same table. I’d offer input, they’d pretend I hadn’t said anything. Really, it was that bad.

Then a funny thing happened. During the final afternoon break, two of the guys started complaining that the communications staff didn’t understand the organization’s core business. Um… actually I did get it. And I interjected a comment that proved it. After that I was golden.

Later, as I was leaving the organization, one of the three would give me some great career advice.

To succeed in business, you have to know how and when to forge a relationship. Sometimes it comes easy; more often it takes hard work. But the payoffs–friends, colleagues, mentors, clients, customers–make the effort worthwhile.

Photo by JD Hancock (Flickr).