Unfortunately for civilized man and womankind, proper manners and etiquette appear to have left the building. Rarely taught in business school, the tactics for building trust and mutual respect are required for economic success. If you want to grow your career, keep your job, or run a super-successful business, follow these five basic rules to build trusted relationships.
Rule #1. Speak last.
When you meet people, don’t start the conversation by talking about yourself. Always ask them about themselves and their work first. It’s easy to babble on about what you do, who you are and what you sell. This immediately sends a message that this meeting is all about YOU. Trust requires getting to know the other person and showing them you believe they are important, so ask them about themselves FIRST. Get their story, before you share your own. (By the way, you will also have the advantage of making a stronger connection, once you know more about them.)
Rule #2. Get an A+ in listening.
Most people consider speaking the most important communication tool.
It is definitely not true when it comes to building trust. Listening is #1 and most people stink at it. Active listening means giving 100% of your attention to the talker. That means no interrupting, no jumping in to share your opinion or common experience. Give the other person the stage until they’ve had their say. When you listen carefully to them, you will be able to engage them in a real authentic conversation. Follow-up by by asking them powerful questions that helps you understand their vision and goals. Nothing builds trust faster than showing this kind of respect.
Rule #3. I only have eyes for you.
Don’t let technology or other people interrupt your conversation. Do you glance at your phone or your watch? Do you take a call, respond to a text or jump up to talk to a colleague? If you do, you have broken the cardinal rule of trust building. You have communicated that other things are more important than the person you are talking to. That’s sure to put the kibosh on present or future opportunities that could lie ahead.
Rule # 4. Offer to Help People.
While you are listening, stop thinking about how you are going to impress them with your next response. Give them 100% of your attention, except for thinking about who you might know who could help them achieve their goals. While your mind is silently going through your mental contact list, think about whether that person would also welcome such an introduction. If the answer is ‘yes’, then you have an opportunity to connect two people who may benefit from knowing each other. Connections and collaborations make the world go round! Doing it for others builds trust for you.
Rule #5. Lights, camera, action!
Like Nike says “Just Do It.” When you suggest a connection or introduction or offer to support them in some way, be sure you follow-through on your promise and do it soon. Always do what you say you are going to do. That’s called accountability. If you can’t get to it right away because you are too busy, then let the person know what the hold up is. Remember to get back in touch with them to inform them when you are taking action. Accountability is one of the most valued traits of leaders and a critical step in building or crushing trust.