Home Business “Trust me on it, okay?” 6 reasons why they don’t and how they can rebuild

“Trust me on it, okay?” 6 reasons why they don’t and how they can rebuild

by Ana Lopez
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By Dianna Booher—

“So what are your responsibilities here?” I asked Cheryl, the senior manager who sat next to me at the back of the room during the leadership meeting.

“Actually, I haven’t figured them all out yet. They just created a new position for me. We are now rearranging things. I’ve only been here a few weeks.”

“You intrigued me.” I paused, doubting if I knew this client well enough to snoop. “So what do you say to a top executive to persuade him to create a new position for you? What is your main expertise?”

She looked at me with a very passionate gleam in her eyes: “I can lead a team of hundreds of people through a monumental change initiative, blindly following me over the edge of a cliff. We’ll skydive into a whole new world and deliver the desired result on time and within budget – and at the end of the journey, they’ll love me, not hate me!

I saw she’d said it dozens of times, after days of thinking.

Cheryl’s secret to gaining such confidence? “It is my ability to communicate and connect with people…. When your team feels a real connection with you, they will see you as an integral part of the team. They never look at you like you’re just calling plays from the sidelines.”

Cheryl, of course, didn’t come to the conclusion and identify that expertise so easily and quickly. But that’s not my point here. Persuasion, trust and results are – and they are closely linked.

How to Lose Your Confidence Faster Than You Can Open Your Mouth

Have you ever worked for a boss who had a habit of publicly pointing out other people’s mistakes during a staff meeting? Chances are, when the boss later asks for feedback on an idea, the group will remain silent.

You may be disappointed by a colleague’s lack of fulfillment of promises. A client asks you and your teammate for a proposal to be delivered on Friday. Since you have most of the information at hand, volunteer to create the comprehensive proposal – everything except the custom pricing component. Your teammate offers to have the price ready to enter the day before your meeting. When the time comes, he says he’s still missing one issue, but will be ready to insert that one page at 8 a.m. the next morning, before your 11 a.m. client meeting. The next morning he will deliver the page to you at 10:30 am. You post it, make copies, and run out the door to the client’s office without enough time to look at the price. And the customer has pricing questions that you can’t answer.

In both situations, trust is destroyed. And those who lose faith may never know the meaning of what they lost, when they lost it, why they lost it, or how to regain it.

But the loss is huge.

How to Restore Lost Trust: Communicate Differently

Trust is related to communication in several ways:

Do what you say you want. While it’s tempting to say what people want to hear, don’t fall into that trap. Be realistic about deadlines, callbacks, references you promise to provide, and introductions you say you’ll make.

When speaking, distinguish between facts and opinions. “The client does not agree with such a proposal.” Anyone who hears that statement will have a hard time interpreting it. The comment can be factual: that is, you spoke to the customer in a preliminary conversation and the customer clearly stated that the deal was a non-starter. On the other hand, that comment may just be an opinion – and a wrong one. Making strong declarative statements that don’t “align” with later facts can destroy others’ trust in most of the things you say.

Strive for Accuracy—emails, texts, reports, proposals and conversations. Once you have a reputation for “playing loose” with the details or data, your future work will be suspect for months, if not years.

Hold the humor– those “smart”, sarcastic remarks that you claim were made “in jest”. Humor at someone else’s expense by mentioning their vulnerabilities earns you a place on everyone’s don’t trust list.

Never try to “appear” people by berating them or their work in a public setting. Anyone who hears the comment will cringe and make a mental comment that you are downright insensitive and dangerous to their reputation.

Listen carefully. We’ve all witnessed this kind of occasion: In a meeting, someone says, “The recruiter is only charging us 20 percent for this new hire.” Someone speaks up and says, “What percentage have we agreed to pay the recruiter for this new hire?” Asking questions about something that has just been thoroughly explained communicates that you have little or no interest in what others say. The impression is that you are either preparing your rebuttal or are a very “slow processor”.

Trust is tangible. No doubt the trust property will continue to accrue interest throughout your career. Once lost, you’ll have a difficult, if not impossible, time winning it back. Careful communication becomes key.

Dianna Booher is the bestselling author of 49 books. Her latest is Faster, fewer, better emails. She helps organizations to communicate clearly. Follow her up BooherResearch.com and @DiannaBooher.

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