Do you know what builds trust? Do people trust who you are, what you’re doing, when you’re doing it, where you’re doing it, why you’re doing it and how you’re doing it?
Most agree, building trust is a primary high-level goal for organizations. But, how do you get there? It’s not easy. And the work involved in doing so never stops.
I’m going to start by examining what people say trustworthy behaviour looks like. If they get that right they’ve got a pretty good starting point for any news media interview or stakeholder presentation. My experience though is that most people don’t get it right. Let me explain.
At the beginning of all ‘CREDible Spokesperson” seminars, participants are asked to share their personal views on trust- building. Most struggle with a ready answer to this simple question. It turns out it’s not something we often ask ourselves.
The fact is, most of us like to think of ourselves as trustworthy. We behave according to the principles which we believe are trustworthy ones. But how often do we think about how others perceive it in us?
Before I answer that question let’s take a look at what hundreds of people in my seminars have told me about the factors that build trust. In the world cloud below, the bigger the word, the more that factor comes up in people’s answers.
Clearly, a majority of people believe that if they can portray themselves as knowledgeable, trust will come along. They may also want to make sure they’re not evasive (and often cite certain politicians for this), that they’re transparent, honest and show good body language. But knowledge and expertise are front and centre for most, at least on first blush.
But is does this ordering of the factors that build trust correspond with the research? In fact, a deeper analysis of trust-building research does not support the ordering of these words in the way people believe it does? This a critical. Because if spokespeople think trust-building is one thing but it’s actually another, then their trust-building efforts are less likely to succeed.
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