In our last article, I discussed 5 surefire ways to build trust with people. In this episode, we continue the list with 5 other open secrets to help you be and appear trustworthy to those you live and work with.
Trust is the major component in any relationship. You must’ve heard of the rumpled paper analogy that likens trust to a straight sheet of paper. It’s all clean and crispy until you rumple it with both hands. But after that, it takes a lot of work to bring it back to its former perfect state—if that’s even possible.
Whether you want to build trust with new people or trying to fix a bad past with someone or a group of people you’ve let down in the past, these 5 tips will be a beacon of hope for you.
Trust me when I tell you that you cannot win with people without the trust factor. That said, let’s get the list rolling.
1. Be a Problem Solver
You see, there’s something about people who make things easier for others. It’s like a charm. When people notice that their troubles tend to disappear or seem under control when they talk to you, they feel more comfortable opening up about other aspects of their lives where they need help.
A friend who helped you get in touch with a marriage counsellor for your marital troubles is likely to get your attention when you run into less important issues. A colleague who simplified a tough task for you on your first day at work would most likely become your buddy.
It’s almost automatic. Nobody builds this kind of reputation in one day. So the best time to start is now. Be a listening ear to someone; a listening ear that doesn’t turn into a talebearer afterwards.
2. Show Genuine Care for People
Building trust comes with a lot of risks. You’re not sure how other people will interpret your benevolence. You will be misjudged by people who have a hard time receiving. But that’s okay. The goal is not to look trustworthy, the goal is to make someone else’s life better when you get the opportunity.
So go ahead. Preempt people’s needs before they even ask. If you overhead the other lady lamenting over her ruined closet, try offering a few tips that might help. If you see your colleague struggling with a broken car, go out of your way to offer some assistance. If your colleague is finally moving to his/her new home, take part of your weekend to help them move. Building trust is a long shot. So you’d better play the long game.
3. Be Consistent
Trust is like wealth. It takes time and consistent effort to build. You don’t start off investing like Warren Buffet one year and go bunkers the next. You don’t make careful financial decisions on one deal and blow up the next one. That makes you unpredictable.
Like a patient investor, you want to sow seeds of trust in people every time you get the opportunity. There’s no better credibility indicator than consistency. It creates a track record that people cannot gainsay. Take a cue from lending institutions. They often ask for proof to gauge your creditworthiness. You know how much credibility it adds to your profile when they see a track record debt repayment.
4. Keep the Rules
Seriously, who trusts someone who has made a habit out of breaking rules? When someone flouts company policies, traffic rules and even disregards social norms such as respect for people and their time, you cannot trust them. If someone cannot obey traffic rules, how do you even trust them with your life?
Again, people trust you when they can predict your character, reaction and stance on important issues. They may not buy your opinion all the time, but they know where you stand any day. And that’s what matters; consistency.
For some reasons, I have to bring this back. That’s how important listening can be to building trust. In a world that places a high premium on speaking up, those who can simply listen will win with people.
People pray to God because of one reason only, they believe he listens. Though some religions believe prayer to be a two-way street—you talk to your creator and he responds—it takes trust to believe in someone you cannot see.
When people know that you listen, they feel freer to open up to you about things only a friend should know. This is the beginning of the trust journey
When you listen, give social proof by nodding intermittently, maintaining and breaking eye contact and not interrupting people except to seek a better understanding. To listen effectively, you must note what is said and what’s not being said. Watch for body language, voice tone, posture and pauses. Ask follow-up questions. Seek first to understand before being understood. Then offer genuine feedback.
If you’ve broken trust before, do your best to mend it. Don’t rush on to validate your stance. Wrong is wrong no matter who commits it. Apologise. Don’t act like it never happened. Don’t give people the impression that they don’t deserve an apology.
There’s no greater strength than admitting wrong and making a genuine effort to right things out. People are more likely to trust you with a second chance when they feel you acknowledged the issue and did something about it.
So, which of these 5 lessons rang the truest for you? Let me know in the comments.