You walk into a meeting, introduce yourself and shake hands. You may not realize it but the clock starts ticking. Research has shown that most people decide to trust you or not, in the first 4 minutes of a conversation.
Just the other day, I asked my 9-year-old son to pack for a trip that he’s going on. After about 20 minutes he came out rolling his zipped suitcase behind him. I asked if he could open it and show me what’s inside, the first words out of his mouth were “Don’t you trust me?”
That’s a hard one. Do I trust that he packed his suitcase and there are clothes inside? Yes!
But, do I trust that it’s the right number and kind of clothes for how many days he’s going to be gone? Not so much.
“Trust is the glue of life. It’s an essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.” – STEPHEN R. COVEY
Trustung is hard to do!
Although technology is a wonderful thing, when it comes to trust, having the world at our fingertips and 24-hour news is a disadvantage. People are exposed to hundreds of things every day. Stories about a mother who’ve been lied to by her partner, politicians who talk out of both sides of their mouth, retirees cheated out of their savings, and don’t get me started on reality TV! People are on guard, all the time.
So what can you do? Luckily, there are some things. The book I’m reading right now is called Maximum Influence by Kurt W Mortensen. (LINK) Although it’s not really about trust, he does do a little bit of research on the subject because, as you can imagine, somebody has to trust you before you can influence them to your way of thinking.
Research shows that when you are having a conversation, the other person has 55% of their attention on your body language, 38% of their attention on your tone of voice and only 7% of their attention on what you’re actually saying.
Think about the non-verbal communication
So as you can imagine it’s very important to portray friendliness and trust in your body language and in your tone of voice. Make sure you smile, genuinely smile because you are happy to be there having this conversation. As a side note, you should smile when you’re talking on the phone. People can hear it in your voice.
Also, you need to look the person in the eyes. They say that the eyes are the windows to the soul for a reason. If you’re not looking someone in the eyes they’re going to assume that you were not being honest.
Most importantly, is someone’s sense of personal space. Make sure that you’re not standing too close to them or too far away for that matter. You need to judge your distance and just like “baby bears porridge” make sure it’s just right.
Common sense tells you most of these things. But I think you would be pretty surprised how often we forget to do them. Just take one of my suggestions and challenge yourself to practice it with everyone that you come across for a week.
How did this exercise work out for you, did you notice any changes in other people’s response or attitude towards you? Share with us, we love to know what happened.