By Michael Cohn
Trust is one of those qualities that is often elusive and must always be earned. You will never start a relationship with another person (and that applies to personal and business situations) and that person trusts you right away. It takes time and it takes a great deal of care that must go into the relationship that you are building together.
The power of the truth
The fact is that from the beginning, you need to build the foundation of your relationship with the other person. Human beings are not trusting creatures right off the bat. It takes some doing to get to that point. If you look at it from a psychological point of view, humans don’t trust because they have had experiences in the past that have taught them not to.
If a person has had an experience in which they were hurt in some way, why would they walk into a similar situation with an understanding that they will have a similar experience this time. Would you?
Although it takes quite a bit of effort to get the other person to trust you, it is far from impossible. In fact, there are some things that you can put in place that may help tremendously.
- Create the perception that you deserve to be trusted: Perceptions go a long way. You always want to give the other person the feeling that he or she can trust you. Although you can’t control what the other person thinks, you can have an influence overturning a situation around if it seems as though it is going in the wrong direction. One way to do that is by having other people speak about you on your behalf. You can’t blow your own horn but other people certainly can. Another effective way to get that idea across is by making good use of testimonials. Testimonials can be very powerful and extremely persuasive.
- Take baby steps: If you consider your ultimate goal, which is total trust from the other person, it may feel as though you will never achieve that. On the other hand, if your approach is simple and methodical and you take it one step at a time, it will be a lot easier to get to your goal. Once you have reached that goal, you will look back and you will probably feel that it didn’t take nearly as much effort as you thought it would. Isn’t that a pleasant surprise? There is no doubt that you are capable of achieving whatever you set out to accomplish. However, getting the other person to come along for the ride is the difficult part.
- Proceed with caution: Nothing good ever came from rushing (in any aspect of your life). It takes time and effort to get the other person to trust you and to believe in your credibility. All relationships take that kind of nurturing. At least, the relationships that have meaning and value. Everything in life that is worth having is worth putting effort into to make it what it needs to be. You should make sure that your relationship with the other person doesn’t gain momentum too fast or that it becomes too intense too quickly.
- Put your money where your mouth is: When it comes to credibility, it is essential that you are able to back up whatever you say you can do (and the credentials that go with that). If you can’t do that, your credentials will not be worth anything. People will see right through it very quickly. One thing that you always need to do is to be able to defend your knowledge. Being prepared at all times is critical to your professional success. People will know if you are fumbling. Another thing that you must always be honest. Other people will definitely be able to tell if you are lying.
- Be consistent: If you want the other person to trust you, make sure that your behavior is consistent. That applies to you personally as well as professionally. There is nothing worse than the person whose behavior is unpredictable (and even potentially volatile). Consistency builds trust and you must be consistent so that the other person knows what to expect.
Trust is one of the essential building blocks for you in business (and in life). Without it, you can’t establish any relationships with anyone and you can’t do business with anyone. Just remember that it takes the time to build trust but if you follow the advice that is given here, you will probably get there more quickly and more easily.
If a person trusts you, that means that they can rely on the fact that you will do what you have promised to do. If other people trust you, they will not only do business with you but they will also tell other people they know about you and your brand/business and they may very well end up doing business with you as well.
Michael Cohn is the founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of CompuKol Communications. He has over 25 years of experience in IT and web technologies. Mr. Cohn spent a significant amount of time at a major telecommunications company, where his main focus was on initiating and leading synergy efforts across all business units by dramatically improving efficiency, online collaboration, and the company’s Intranet capabilities, which accelerated gains in business productivity. He also reduced company travel and travel costs by introducing and implementing various collaboration technologies.
His expertise includes business analysis; project management; management of global cross-matrix teams; systems engineering and analysis, architecture, prototyping and integration; technology evaluation and assessment; systems development; performance evaluation; and management of off-shore development.
Mr. Cohn earned a Master’s degree in project management from George Washington University in Washington, DC; and a Master’s degree in computer science and a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, NJ.
Mr. Cohn is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).