“Trust is the glue of life. It’s an essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.” ― Stephen R. Covey
Nowadays, if you want to know how to make others trust you, you can google it.
The information you will get will mostly teach you that you must have an appropriate body language, to ask questions and nod your head while listening.
It’s 100% correct. Using the right body language and active listening will help you put the other person at ease, and it will allow them to open up to you faster than they normally would.
But here is the kicker.
Body language, active listening, and many other techniques we can apply to get people to trust us are just that. Techniques.
As much as a technique is important, what matters more is the underlying intention behind it.
If we want to connect with another human being, we have to be aware of that underlying intention. It’s the foundation on top of which you can safely use the appropriate techniques to gain someone’s trust.
If your foundation is not solid, sooner or later, it will start to crack, and people will see through it. Once they do, the trust, you were trying so hard to build will collapse.
So, without further ado, I am presenting you my four foundational principles for building trust.
1. Don’t Have A Hidden Agenda
“The expectation of return makes it a transactional relationship.” ― Simon Sinek
Even though this list is in no way in an ascending or descending order, this one is the fundamental principle of human connection and trust forming process.
Unfortunately, if we pay attention, we can notice these transactional relationships all around us. Many businesses are functioning on this model. Give a little now, and expect a higher conversion rate because of it later.
When it comes to personal relationships, the equivalent would be helping someone and feeling entitled to call upon that favor later on.
Thinking that you have leverage over anyone because you helped them when they needed to is not a way to gain a trust.
Help if you can. Because it feels good at the moment, not because of the long term gain. Do not expect anything in return.
Loan sharks do that. People don’t.
2. Demonstrate Credibility
“Trust is built on credibility, and credibility comes from acting in others’ interests before your own.” ― Stephen Denny
Today, making yourself credible could be solved with a few testimonials and a certificate that show you can be trusted.
As important as that may be, that’s not enough.
Building a strong relationship from the beginning requires much more than that. Instead of telling people what you did for others in the past, let your actions show what you can do for them now.
Wheather you are doing business with someone, or just helping out as a friend always keep their problems as your north star.
Rather than flashing testimonials or bragging about your success rate in the past, invest your time in getting to know the person in front of you.
If you don’t have the knowledge or the skills to solve their problems, be honest and say so.
You will maybe sacrifice a short term gain by admitting you can’t help them. But you will definitely win on the long run by not acting as a self proclaimed expert.
3. Be vulnerable
‘’I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification. One day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today.’’ ― Martin Luther King Jr.
There he was.
A man who opened his heart and soul and shared his dreams and vision to over 250,000 civil rights supporters from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.,
In contrary to popular belief, vulnerability is not about being emotional or crying in front of others.
It’s not about a canned story that will evoke an emotional response from others and in return increase the sales or get people to like us more by sympathizing with us.
Embracing vulnerability means allowing yourself to open up to others and share your dreams, ideas, struggles, and insecurities despite the risk of being laughed at and rejected.
Being vulnerable means making a stand for what you believe in and not moving an inch, despite the opposing force, political repression or fear that even your loved ones won’t understand you.
Then, and only then you will see people gather around that idea, that belief that you hold in your heart. And that idea shines the light onto others.
Embrace the vulnerability. Just like Martin Luther King did in 1963.
4. Speak Your Truth
“Telling the truth and making someone cry is better than telling a lie and making someone smile.” ― Paulo Coelho
Out of all the point on this list, I am still struggling with this one.
One of the hardest things for me is telling my friends (or a person I just met) something that I know they don’t want to hear.
Rarely people want to hear that they should consider breaking up with their partner, even though that partner is toxic for them.
People don’t want to be told that the only way to lose weight is to start eating the right food and stop eating junk food.
It took me a while to understand why.
It’s because when we have the solution, we don’t have excuses for not taking action. Unfortunately, some people need to hold onto those excuses because they don’t want to change.
Whatever the reason might be, our responsibility is to speak our truth.
Inevitably, some people might be offended if you tell the truth. You will probably lose a few friends along the way.
But every once in a while, you will stumble upon those who will cherish and value the truth and those who will make the necessary change in their lives because of it.
However, before you speak up your truth, make sure to separate facts from your opinions about the topic. Even though this seems counterintuitive, revealing your bias will make people trust you even more.
“Integrity is choosing your thoughts and actions based on values rather than personal gain.” ― Anonymous
Unlike body language, integrity is something that you can’t fake.
You either have it, or you don’t. But just like body language, you can train yourself to be a person of integrity.
If your foundation is solid, you don’t have to rely solely on techniques to make people trust you.
Because at the end of the day people want to believe. Especially the ones who need hope. Knowing that they can trust you is enough.
Don’t take that trust for granted.
Call To Action
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Originally published at medium.com