What are the best ways to build better relationships with coworkers, business partners, and customers? Why are relationships more important now more than ever for a business to be successful? How do you fix broken relationships? In this lesson you will learn about these topics along with the vocabulary, idioms, and phrases used to cover this important aspect of Business English. 

Business English Relationship Building

Vocabulary – Expressions – Phrasal Verbs – Idioms:

Relationship building – the process of creating meaningful and positive connections with those with whom you are working and doing business.

Strong relationships – relationships which are based on mutual trust and respect, even liking, and which can withstand the ups and downs of normal working and business life.

Interpersonal skills – the tools which people have available to them in order to relate to others; for example, the ability to listen well.

Mediator – a person with good interpersonal skills who can act to bring together people with differing needs, attitudes and points of view, to achieve a necessary business objective.

Staying composed – Kipling put it nicely, “If you can keep your head when all around are losing theirs…”. In other words keeping calm during intense and confrontational situations.

Contacts file – a file of people you encounter in business, categorized under various headings according to how they can be of future help to you – and you to them.

Tact – the ability to deal with people and situations with care and discretion.

Win Win situation – a circumstance where all parties achieve their objectives in such a way that everyone feels very satisfied.

Authenticity – being real with other people, being honest and straightforward.

Shared goals – things which all parties wish to achieve, which should be identified in order to strengthen relationships.

Mutual respect – regardless of how different from you the person you are dealing with might be, both parties need to recognize their common needs and indeed, their humanity.

Gossip – idle chatter, usually speculative and unkind, about others. To be avoided if good relationships are to be built.

Meaningfulness – actions and words which have real meaning – and which are not simply superficial.

Networking – reaching out to others to create a complex web of interconnected relationships.

Relationship Building Live Example

Live Example:

Relationship building is a key skill for any person within an organization, no matter how junior. Demonstrating authenticity, having shared goals and offering mutual respect are all signs of good relationships.

If you have good interpersonal skills, tact and the ability to stay composed and create win-win situations, then you may be an ideal person to become a mediator in your organization.

Relationship Building Live Conversation Example

Live Conversation Example:

Simon Kim: Jenny, we have a situation which I believe you can help us with. You have the right kind of tact, interpersonal skills and you are not a person who likes to gossip.

Jenny Cho: How can I help Simon?

Simon Kim: One of our biggest clients has complained that they aren’t getting the right level of response and service. The operations manager says that they are unreasonable and needy.

Jenny Cho: It sounds like some delicate mediation is needed here, and some relationship building. I’d be happy to help.

Simon Kim: I’d be so glad if you could help. We need to rebuild mutual respect, and I think the way to do that is to create some shared goals. And to be honest, a few days in a relaxed environment would be a good idea.

Jenny Cho: Ok, if you give me the details, I’ll set all that up, and see how we can turn it into a win-win situation.

Relationship Building Practice


Name five things you could do right now to create better relationships with your colleagues.

How does gossip damage workplace relationships?

Create a contacts file; what categories do you need? (Suggestions – Potential Clients, Sources of Industry Information, Potential Employees, Potential Business Partners.)

Do you feel you have good interpersonal skills? How can you demonstrate that?

Describe three situations where you have had to use tact.

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