Authentic Relationships: How to be Human in Business

In today’s fast-paced business landscape, where most of our communications happen online, authentic relationships are worth their weight in gold. Cultivating genuine connections with others has a deep impact on personal and professional well-being. This article delves into the importance of authentic relationships, the role of networking, the significance of community building, the distinction between communities and networking groups, and tips for nurturing relationships.

Authentic Relationships in Business

Authentic Relationships in Business

There are two types of businesses: a hustle business based on pushy marketing techniques and fear-based selling, or a long-term business, your life’s work, that’s based on authentic relationships.

Here’s why these authentic relationships matter so much:

  1. Trust and Loyalty: Authentic relationships are built on trust and loyalty, forming a foundation of support and reliability. Trust is the basis for long-term collaborations, partnerships and business opportunities.
  2. Enhanced Collaboration: Strong relationships foster effective collaboration. When people feel truly comfortable sharing their ideas and opinions, it creates the perfect breeding ground for creativity and innovation to thrive. This leads to improved problem-solving and increased productivity.
  3. Personal Growth: In order to nurture authentic relationships you need to first find your authentic self. Delving deeper into who you are, thinking about your values and worldview will help you feel grounded in authenticity and it’s from this place you’ll find your people.
  4. Mentorship and Guidance: By building relationships with experienced professionals you can take advantage of learning from those who have walked the path before you. This accelerates personal and professional growth, helping you avoid common pitfalls and mistakes.

Does Networking Work to Create Authentic Relationships?

Networking has long been hailed as a valuable tool for business growth. While it can be beneficial, relying solely on networking may not be enough when it comes to establishing and maintaining authentic relationships. Here’s why:

  1. Surface-level Connections: Networking often revolves around quick interactions where business cards are exchanged, and small talk prevails. While these initial connections can open doors, they often lack depth. That’s probably the number one reason why I personally don’t like networking events, unless they are organized around a specific theme.
  2. Transactional Approach: Another reason why I’ve never been a fan of networking events is that to me they’ve always felt transactional, where people come with the intention to sell – and hand out as many business cards as they can. Authentic relationships, however, are built on shared values, and a genuine interest in each other’s success.
  3. Limited Time for Nurturing: Networking events are often time-constrained, leaving little room for meaningful conversations and relationship-building. My worst introvert nightmare is the speed networking events where you talk to someone else every 2 minutes. The only few times I’ve ever attended such an event I’ve found myself completely exhausted afterwards, unable to recollect whom I’ve talked to. In my opinion authentic relationships require consistent effort, time, and genuine investment to flourish.

Building a Community Instead

Building a community goes beyond traditional networking. It involves creating a supportive ecosystem where individuals connect on a deeper level, foster meaningful relationships, and collaborate for collective growth.

How Communities Differ from Networking Groups

Communities and networking groups may seem similar, but they have distinct characteristics.

 Here’s how communities differ from networking groups:

  1. Shared Values: Communities are built around shared values, interests, or goals, fostering a sense of belonging and identity. Networking groups often revolve around professional affiliations or industries.
  2. Depth of Relationships: Communities focus on nurturing deep, meaningful relationships that extend beyond business transactions. Networking groups primarily facilitate surface-level connections for professional purposes.
  3. Longevity and Consistency: Communities thrive on longevity and consistency. They provide a supportive environment for individuals to grow together, while networking groups often revolve around intermittent events or activities.
  4. Collaboration vs. Self-Promotion: Communities emphasize collaboration and mutual support among members. Networking groups may have a stronger focus on self-promotion and individual gains.
  5. Sense of Belonging: Communities foster a sense of belonging and shared purpose, creating a safe space for individuals to connect and grow. Networking groups may lack this sense of belonging due to their transactional nature.

Read this post if you’re curious about online communities and the difference between a community and an audience.

Our community, the Humane Marketing Circle entails all of the above. Our common values are aligned with those of the generation of marketers who care for ourselves, our clients and the planet. Our members join our Circle for the long term, knowing that it takes time and intention to build authentic relationships. They are driven by collaboration and partnerships and many business opportunities arise out of our community. Have a look at the details if this is the kind of community you’ve been looking for.

Besides a Community, How Else Do You Find Your People in Business?

So far we’ve covered networking events and communities. Here are some other tips about Finding Your People.

Step 1: Find Yourself First

As Humane Marketers we start with ourselves, before we even thing about our ideal clients. It’s time to rumble with whom you are, your story, your values, your worldview.

Step 2: Bring More of You to Your Marketing

Once you know who you are, well, if you want to work only with ideal clients (or dream clients – see summit below), then you need to bring more of you to your marketing. My post shows your how.

Step 3: Make Your Worldview Your Niche

If you’ve been with me for a while you know that I have a bit of a different take on niching. Yes, you need to know whom you serve. But that doesn’t need to be just one specific gender or type of person. I say make your worldview your niche!

Step 4: Be Selective about Your Ecosystem

It’s tempting to accept just any client or just any collaboration. Usually the ego is somehow involved in the wrong decisions. What’s the point of having hundreds of names on your email list but not no one opening your newsletters? Only seek exposure where YOUR people hang out.

Read the full article on How to Find Your People in Business.

Six Tips for Nurturing Relationships

Whether it’s with colleagues, friends, or acquaintances, fostering meaningful connections requires effort and intention.

Here are six valuable tips that can help you cultivate and maintain strong relationships:

  1. Active Listening: Practice active listening by genuinely focusing on the speaker, seeking to understand their perspective, and responding thoughtfully. This demonstrates your interest and respect for the other person.
  2. Follow-up and Follow-through: Always follow up after a meeting or conversation to show your continued interest and commitment. Follow through on any commitments made, as this builds trust and reliability.
  3. Offer Value: Look for ways to offer value to others without expecting anything in return. Share relevant resources, make introductions, or offer assistance whenever possible. This generosity strengthens relationships.
  4. Show Gratitude: Express gratitude and appreciation for the contributions and support of others. A simple thank-you can go a long way in nurturing relationships and creating a positive atmosphere.
  5. Stay Connected: Regularly reach out to your network to maintain connections. Schedule catch-up calls, attend events together, or share interesting articles. Consistency is key in building and nurturing relationships.
  6. Be Authentic: Be genuine and authentic in your interactions. People appreciate sincerity and can sense when someone is being disingenuous. Show your true self and build connections based on shared values and trust. Easier said than done? Read this post on how to find your authentic self.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Why are authentic relationships important in business?

Authentic relationships are important in business because they foster trust, loyalty, collaboration, and personal growth. They open doors to opportunities, partnerships, and mentorship.

2. Can networking alone establish authentic relationships?

While networking can provide initial connections, it often lacks the depth and consistency required for authentic relationships. Networking should be complemented with nurturing efforts and a focus on building genuine connections in communities.

3. What differentiates communities from networking groups?

Communities are built around shared values, foster deeper relationships, thrive on longevity, and emphasize collaboration. Networking groups are often centered around professional affiliations, focus on surface-level connections, and may prioritize self-promotion.

4. How can I nurture authentic relationships?

Nurture authentic relationships by practicing active listening, following up and following through, offering value, showing gratitude, staying connected, and being authentic in your interactions.


Authentic relationships hold immense value in the fast-paced business world. While networking plays a role, it’s crucial to go beyond superficial connections and invest in building genuine relationships. Communities provide a fertile ground for nurturing these relationships, fostering collaboration, support, and collective growth. By applying Jillian’s secret recipe for nurturing relationships, individuals can cultivate meaningful connections that enrich their personal and professional lives. Remember, building authentic relationships takes time, effort, and a genuine interest in the success of others. Start cultivating those connections today and reap the rewards in the long run.

Other Resources You Might Enjoy

Blog post: Find Your People in Business: A Marketing Guide for Conscious Entrepreneurs

Blog post: Online Community: Build Your Business with Like-Minded Individuals

Blog post: How to Find Your Authentic Self (as an Entrepreneur)


Podcast episode: The Importance of Community in Marketing

Podcast episode: Relationship Building: Nurture these 10 Vital Business Relationships




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