Trust is at an all-time low.
We have seven passwords for every element of our tech lives (well, okay; that’s a slight exaggeration. But it feels that way sometimes). We have at least as many relational passwords, spoken and unspoken, for our human interactions (It’s so difficult to genuinely connect with other humans these days!)
Which all adds up to:
A global pandemic of decreasing trust, which is eroding all that we hold dear.
Why do I use the term pandemic (we usually associate that word with physical ailments) when we are talking about interpersonal relationships? Because the erosion of trust is contagious.
Here’s why: when you experience a low level of trust, let’s say at work: it gets under your skin; bad feelings infect your soul like a virus, and you find yourself trusting yourself and others less and less with every touch and test of your will and your patience.
We are suffering from a toxic hangover of trust depletion.
Trust is essential.
Trust is what makes the world go round. Everything, from the time it takes to get through TSA at the airport, to what will happen at home tonight, or at work tomorrow (in order for things to go well), depends on a high level of trust.
Which brings us to the question:
What are you doing to increase the amount of trust others have in you?
Here’s what you can do to (re)build trust.
Listen. This is first and foremost, when it comes to building trust.
Because no-one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.
When you listen, people know you care. We all like to be understood, right? Understanding begins with listening. In this era of earbuds, there are all kinds of buzz words and tips and tricks out there that (supposedly) show someone you are listening. (Nod your head, repeat what they have just said…) And yes: there are some tried and true methods to better engage with someone as a true listener. In fact, you might spend a few minutes at the end of this post listening to a short talk on how to have a great conversation with anyone.
But here’s the bottom line:
If you are truly listening to someone, they will know it.
Next, speak their language. Each of us has a particular away of thinking and verbalizing what we think and feel, which speaks to us most clearly. If you want to connect with someone, take the time to learn their unique personal language. In particular, listen for their heart language, where they feel best understood and cared for.
If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.
And finally, be consistent. Consistency is one of the most effective ways to establish trust. If you’re a teddy bear one moment and a grizzly bear the next, it’s hard to know which one of those two extremes I am likely to get when I try to interact with you. Or if you respond to my texts regularly, and then suddenly you don’t reply for awhile, I’m going to wonder what’s going on. Consistency is key in human dynamics, since all of us are naturally risk-averse. I’m not in any way saying don’t have a full range of human emotions. What I am saying is choose the way you communicate with others wisely.
The Bottom Line
The way you listen, the language you use when you speak, and how you show up all affect how much others will trust you. And here’s what it all adds up to:
The more you trust yourself, the more others will trust you.
Think of what we’ve been talking about:
How well do you listen to yourself? What language speaks most clearly to your heart? How consistent are you with yourself?
When you trust yourself more in these three areas, others will trust you more. It’s human nature. Think of the people you trust at a deep level, and you will realize that the people you most trust — trust themselves.
Let’s take these one at a time, to see how we might develop a deeper level of trust in ourselves. Think of it as setting up a successful LLC:
1. Listen. Set aside regular time with yourself, to hear yourself in all the rich complexity of who you are. We can talk about how to do this, if you’d like. You may have some ideas of your own. The point is, do it.
2. Language. What words, spoken in what way, speak deepest to your heart, to your deepest core? Chances are, you don’t really know what language speaks to you most clearly. Make time to discover your own language, and then help others to communicate with you in this language.
3. Consistency. Do you regularly exercise, eat well, care for yourself? If not, begin now to be more consistent with daily routines. You will feel more valued and cared for when you do.
You can fight the pandemic of low trust by paying attention to these three basic elements of human interaction, starting with yourself.
A little more on how to have a great conversation:
Want more help?
I can help you trust yourself more, which will translate into others trusting you more, too.