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Mis à jour le 12/05/2022

Determine the Intimacy of Your Professional Relationship

Discover Different Approaches to Personalizing Your Relationships

Everyone is different. People you interact with at work each have their own personalities, different motivations, a unique past, and, most importantly, a varying level of intimacy with you. Imagine your professional relationships as a network of pieces of string connecting you to them and that these pieces of string are all different colors and sizes.

You want to avoid the classic mistake of emails that say, “Hi [First_Name].” :lol:

Email example of a non-personalized email. It begin with hi first name
An example of a non-personalized email 

Here are three complementary approaches to help personalize your relationships by:

  • Level of intimacy: you are closer to some people than you are to others! That changes the way you interact with them. 

  • Personality-type: Everyone has a different personality. Your behavior changes as a function of the other persons personality-type!

  • Personal motivations: People's motivators are all different, and it will change the way you interact with them!

Discover More About Intimacy in Relationships

What do you mean by  “level of intimacy?”

You can use simple ways to evaluate these common goals:

  • If you work in IT, you could, for example, look at the number of resolved support requests.

  • If you work in sales, you could look at the turnover or the objectives that the other person has helped you to attain.

  • The number of ongoing projects with your internal/external client.

  • The number of other clients/contacts/people within your company recommended to you by this person.

Determine the Intimacy-Level of Your Professional Relationship 

The relationship scale has 5 levels of intimacy:

Level 0 Nonexistent Relationship / Level 1 Basic Relationship / Level 2 Transactional Relationship / Level 3 Customer-Supplier Relationship / Level 4 Partnership-Type Relationship / Level 5 Friendly Relationship
The five levels of intimacy

Level 0 

The people you walk past in a big city. You have no relationship with them.

Level 1

People you might say hello to in a small village, or you might exchange pleasantries with on an elevator.

Level 2

This is the first transactional level. The local baker you thank when they give you your change and with whom you discuss the weather. It could be the taxi driver with whom you discuss the recent transport strikes, climate change, and music during the ride.

Level 3

This is the customer-supplier relationship. You meet with your professional contact and talk about ideas and projects. In this relationship level, you ask more framework questions and exploratory questions than detail questions that may come across as intrusive (unless you feel like you can move on to the next level with this relationship). 

Level 4

The relationship grows into a more partnership-style arrangement. Generally speaking, this is when the relationship becomes less formal. You exchange ideas and information with the other person and other thoughts, sometimes relating to your private lives. On this level, you ask detailed questions and feel free to call someone without arranging it in advance to ask for advice. I like to reach this level with my clients quickly, and I feel most at ease in this relationship.

Level 5

The relationship continues to grow and, most importantly, lasts for a long time. The person becomes almost a friend, and sometimes you find it hard to see them as a "work contact" still. You can’t imagine the relationship fading in the next 4-5 years.

Over to You Now!

What about you? On which level are your relationships with your clients and professional contacts? Why do you think this is the case?

Choose five of your professional relationships and place them according to the level of intimacy in the table in your workbook.

Let's Recap!

  • Being service-minded involves relationships where you’ll have to adapt to the other person.

  • One of your objectives is to help the relationship grow (as well as work towards your professional goals).

  • Knowing how to measure the level of intimacy on a scale enables you to choose whether you want to move to the next level or stay where you are.

 The level of intimacy in the relationship is one of the first things you can evaluate regarding your professional relationships. We all do this naturally and have done this since childhood but consciously measuring it helps you structure things better. Let’s go further now and look how to adapt to different personality-types. 

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