Don't just say it; earn it
Fun fact: I’m one of those people others confide in.
And when I say, “confide,” I mean really confide.
As in a brand new acquaintance sharing their deepest fears and biggest dreams.
Or the complete stranger sitting next to me on a plane who told me about everything from his sick dog to nasty ex.
I’ve had folks say to me, “I know we haven’t worked together very closely, but I feel like I can trust you,” and then proceed to share with me highly sensitive information.
Or put their confidence in me when they say, “I know I can trust you to keep this between us.”
And I secretly love it.
To me, this is a compliment of the highest order and something I take very seriously.
Trust is essential in life and business because we only want to be around people we trust.
And when we do feel that confidence, we know that the person on the other end of our discussion will make it — and us — a priority by listening attentively and thoroughly engaging with us.
It’s the basis of all successful relationships, and ultimately, in business and life, cultivating relationships is how you’ll excel.
But the thing about trust is that you can lose it in an instant.
Here’s how to build and keep it:
Use your eyes and ears more than your mouth
Go out of your way to listen more than you speak, looking people in the eye when you do, giving them your undivided attention.
Serve, don’t sell
Instead of pitching someone immediately after you meet, ask how you can help them, and be proactive in connecting them with the people and resources they need.
Freely share your wisdom
By regularly sharing your insights and experiences, you’ll be seen as an emotionally intelligent thought leader who strives to serve others.
When you care enough to see things from someone else’s perspective, you’ll better understand them and then be able to use those insights in ways to better serve and communicate with them.
Do what you say and say what you do
Ambiguity erodes trust; not following through or honoring your word kills it. But, on the other hand, when you’re clear and align your words and actions, you’re seen as someone with integrity who’s dependable.
Make kindness and respect your default
Attention is precious, and trust can be abused. In a world where you can be anything, be kind and respectful—especially if you hope to earn someone’s trust.
Here’s the other thing about trust: it’s essential for effective communication.
Without trust, your great ideas will fall on deaf ears.
And worse, without even realizing it, you could be signaling to others that you’re untrustworthy.
Fortunately, there’s a fix.
(With a tip of the hat to the amazing Vanessa Van Edwards, whose new book Cues: Master the Secret Language of Charismatic Communication inspired this article!)
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