Have you ever gone through any difficulty when you have to work with or need support from others who have just known you for a few hours? I think it was a quite nerve-racking moment that most of us have experienced in our life, at least once. Such moments could be booking a meeting with a new customer or calling for help from a new colleague. Normally it's not so challenging to have a date with your friends or to ask your cousins to help certain things. They are all human beings so what is the difference between these two situations? Yes, the answer is trust.
Why getting trust is so critical for us? Because trust is always the first step of any relationships, and as you know, the first step is always the most challenging one.
Why people always prefer to keep one eye (the most cautious one) open to strangers
There are plenty of reasons why people cannot trust others easily. The first reason is that we are growing in a risk averse world. You probably know that we are taught to be cautious when starting to believe in someone we have just known. As children, we learned that trusting a stranger is dangerous. As adults, we have to be careful when choosing a partner to marry and live with him/her for the rest of our life. And as a result, day by day, being alert all the time becomes a norm in our society despite its obvious side effects.
Another reason is that many people have suffered from trusting wrong persons in the past. And such painful experiences become their unforgettable and proven lessons about trusting others. For examples, an online scam will make us more cautious to the word “online shopping”. For many people, it’s better to not trust any unknown.
All these beliefs and experiences together form a barrier in our minds when trying to gain trust from others. It will make us feel stressed, especially if the target person is important to our career or life. So, the more stressful you are, the more unnaturally your behavior would be. At this point, you can easily see that people will doubt everything they feel not normal. And ironically, our effort makes us less credible rather than help.
So how can we do it better, or in other words, how can we make people trust us without spending months together
1 - Body language is more important than we thought
Have you ever known that your body language will contribute up to 55% of the message impact? This means how you look at someone’s eyes when talking, how you shake their hands are and how relaxed you are in the meeting will affect the impressions about you more than what you say. Like an aperitif of a luxurious meal, body language is the first and more important impression, especially in your first meeting, because people will look at you before starting any verbal communication. So, the key is to be relaxed and confident in any conversation.
2 - Please don’t elaborate your language too much
Another important thing is how to use your language in your conversation. If you are too careful and choose vague words that give you less responsibility, then you will make people question your commitment and reliability. Let’s think about this example: “I might be quite sure about my offer until now.” Can you trust a salesman stating his offer this way? I personally won’t.
3 - Be a well prepared listener
Like a base of the house, good understanding each other is always a foundation for trust. Hence, you need to be good at encouraging others to speak and then listening to them effectively. A set of questions for casual talk will give you hints to effortlessly initiate any conversation and keep it going on. For starting a conversation, your question bank might include general questions about professional life. And you should also have questions about common topics, such as creation, family, and friends… for further discussion. So your guess will has a chance to share and you will be almost ready for the next questions. It’s so relaxing because your question banks will prepare you significantly for most of the situations. However, please be careful not making your meeting an interrogation section.
4 - Know your guess’s favorite
If your job often requires support from people you have not known before, then you have to invest heavily on your ability to instantly share interests about subjects your target persons love. Because interest is alike flowers in the human mind, we will feel happy when these flowers are watered, even by a stranger. Skimming about subjects your guests might like will help you feel more confident when expanding discussion topic.
Let’s imagine that your customer is a fan of football and so you are. And after discussing about professional things, guess how your customer would be excited if both of you can comment sharply about the football match yesterday. After that, you will have a chance to grow the relationship beyond business boundary. Depending on persons you will meet, the subjects you need to learn more could be hobbies, family, and celebrities or even political issues (but you have to be very careful when talking about such sensitive things).
5 - Be the first one to trust
Above everything, you need to be wholehearted to build a new relationship. Deep inside your mind, you need to remember that a healthy trust is a bridge, which needs to be strengthened from both sides. If you doubt the person you are talking to, it’s fine. But please put aside this thought for a few minutes because you can evaluate it later. Once you question someone else, your subconscious mind will know and your body language will show the doubt.
John C. Maxwell says that, “People may hear your words, but they feel your attitude.”
So, it’s not very hard for your new colleague to recognize your unnatural smile or a fake praise. When facing doubt, a tip I often use is to pretend that I am talking to a five-year old kid, who is more eligible to be forgiven.
Finally, like diamond, trust is becoming harder to gain, but it’s worth your try. We need to learn that trust is a two-way link, which means it must be grown by both sides. And it’s your choice to stay in the comfort zone or be the initiator in this construction process by paying attention to our target, communication manner and your trust to others.