3 Surefire Steps To Build Trust In A Flash And Get Ahead NOW!
“Proving you are trusted requires external validation. Proving you are trustworthy begins and ends with you.” – Conversingfire.com
Trust has been coined the “lubricant” that builds relationships, elevates you to higher positions and inspires others to sponsor your value.
Although we are naturally predisposed to trusting others, in the wake of ongoing restructuring, particularly at this time of year, employees are becoming more and more mistrustful as they realize that they may be dispensable. Your ability to influence decision makers and stakeholders of your value will initially begin with your “TQ” – your Trustworthy Quotient.
In this eNewsletter, I will share with you the 3 steps you can take to build both an instant and lasting trust connection with people to ensure you thrive in uncertain times.
Finding Common Ground
Before we get into the actual 3 steps, I wanted to share with you the following story from a June 2nd, 2014 Harvard Business Review article by David DeSteno.
As you read the following excerpt from the DeSteno piece, the purpose for my including it as a pretext to sharing with you my building trust steps, will become apparent fairly quickly.
A powerful way to establish trust is to employ one of the mind’s most basic mechanisms for determining loyalty: the perception of similarity. If you can make someone feel a link with you, his empathy for and willingness to cooperate with you will increase.
My favorite example of this occurred outside Ypres, Belgium in 1914. The British and the Germans had been fighting a long and bloody battle, but on the eve of December 24th, the British soldiers began to see lights and hear songs from across the field that separated their trenches from those of their foes. They soon recognized that the lights were candles and the songs were Christmas carols. What happened next was rather amazing. The men from both sides came out of their trenches and began to celebrate Christmas together. Men who had hours before been trying to kill each other were now sharing trinkets and family photos in complete trust that no violence would occur. Why? No one knows for certain, but I suspect that it was because in those moments, the men stopped viewing themselves as British and Germans, and rather saw themselves as fellow Christians. They came to perceive themselves as similar, and that meant they could trust each other.
Before you can truly build trust with someone, you must first establish a common bond. Something upon which you can build a rapport centered around a shared experience or similar interests and values.
If this can be achieved on the battlefield, it can certainly be applied to our everyday lives.
1. Put On A Happy Face With Gratitude
What does your face say about you? In The Journal of Neuroscience study, August 2014, researchers make reference to the power of facial cues as reliable signals about another’s underlying disposition.
“The research suggests that the human brain develops an assessment about trustworthiness in a mere 50-millisecond exposure — indeed before even consciously perceiving a person’s face.”
According to the Max Plank Institute for Evolutionary Biology, “putting on an honest smile that is genuine can influence people to cooperate with you by perceiving you as trustworthy.”
But where does your smile begin? What if you are having a bad day? Surely you can’t be happy all of the time, nor can you always have a smile on your face. What do you do when you can’t present a sincere smile to the world?
If a smile can’t find you, then you have to find a smile. A smile can come show up in the twinkle of an eye.
When you are going through a difficult period, think about all the things for which you have to be grateful. I say this, because gratitude is the driving force behind a sincere smile.
Gratitude ensures that your attitude is not circumstantial but self-determined. This is both freeing and empowering at the same time.
Or to put it another way, if your attitude is positive, then your outlook will be positive. If your outlook is positive, your smile will be warm, sincere and authentic.
Manage first impressions.
- Think about when you last met someone for the first time, and were greeted with a warm smile and an extension of a friendly hand. How did that person make you feel? Giving others this feeling should be your goal whether meeting them for the first time or the hundredth time.
- Seek feedback from at least six colleagues/customers whom you have an open relationship. Compare comments to see if you are creating a consistent positive first impression. Depending on the feedback, identify immediate steps to take.
2. Make Sure What They See Is What They Get
“Overall, because branding is about creating and sustaining trust, it means delivering on promises. The best and most successful brands are completely coherent. Every aspect of what they do and what they are reinforces everything else.”– Wally Olins
A follow-up study to the one referenced above, found that while “we can alter our facial features in ways that make us look more trustworthy,” we don’t have the ability to “appear more competent.” In short, it is not just what people see, it is ultimately what they get that determines if their trust in you is warranted.
Or as I like to say, a good first impression might open the door to opportunity, but you have to be able to walk through it and deliver.
Think of it in terms of running a race.
You do not want to be a sprinter in a marathon – fast out of the gate, only to run out of steam long before the finish line. You must have perseverance and an indomitable will to always give your best, and be the best.
In this regard, you have to deliver beyond first impressions.
If you make a promise, keep it. If you are asked to perform a task, don’t just do the minimum . . . over deliver.
The fact is that you have to back up how you look with how you perform. When you do this, you will become a Go To person. You will be the person who can be trusted to come through, when the chips are down.
Set realistic expectations for yourself
- If you are one to say “yes” to everything and then fall short of delivering, you will have a hard time regaining trust.
- If you are uncomfortable using the “No” word, replace it with “It would have been my pleasure to help you out. Presently, I have overcommitted and don’t want to disappoint you in not giving you what you need”.
- If given the opportunity, always seek to deliver more than you promise. Besides gaining positive attention, you will always ensure that you are raising your own personal performance bar.
3. Treat Everyone The Same
Besides putting your best face forward, and delivering on your promises, building and maintaining trust requires consistency in terms of how you interact with all people, and not only those who are in a position of authority.
In my book The Future of You, there is a section titled How To Be Courageously Consistent. The following excerpt from that section sums up perfectly, what it means to be consistent (and the consequences of inconsistency), when interacting with others.
I have seen firsthand managers who treat their colleagues one way, their direct reports another way, and their senior leadership differently yet again. Have you ever worked with someone like that? People who do this are sometimes described as being good at “managing up,” but that is rarely a compliment. What they are really doing is damaging their brand.
When someone observes you treating people differently based on perceived status, the first seeds of mistrust are sewn. They immediately start to wonder which one is the real you. As a result, you quickly become a brand they cannot trust. And you can’t build loyalty or a good reputation without trust. Or to put it another way, what you need to do is to adopt brand discipline, which simply means that everything you do or say must remain consistent.
Get real . . . all of the time
- Always give the other person your undivided attention when talking with them.
- Whether dealing with the company CEO, or someone from the mailroom, make them feel like they are the only person in the room and that you sincerely care about them.
- Finally, and while it is okay to dance as if no one is watching, in the world of business, someone is always watching. This means that you cannot just act the part, you must actually believe and live the part in terms of being sincere.
The Circle Of Trust
In the end, people will want to trust and follow you, if you have an energy and enthusiasm for life and what you do.
What you think you become. Monitor your thoughts to ensure that you stay positive. If you adopt an optimistic demeanor and you speak from the heart with certainty, the unconscious facial cues will be projected in your positive and inviting expressions.
Once you have opened the door through making a good first impression, commit to making it lasting.
Last, your future is not decided by someone else. The decision makers do not have your fate in their hands. By taking responsibility for how you show up and being the best you can be for others and yourself, you also take charge of it. This is the ultimate, self-perpetuating Circle of Trust.