The Top 5 Ways to Build Trust

Steven Covey, author of The Speed of Trust, says, “We judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their behavior.”

That’s a pretty nice way to sum up how trust is built. Internally, there’s a focus on intentions, and for others, it’s all about behavior.

When’s the last time you took a hard look at your behavior? Has it been a while?

It’s time to ask yourself: Are you actively doing things that help build trust with the people around you? If you don’t pause to think about this question, you could be on the path to destruction.

To save you from total chaos, we’ve put together a top 5 list of ways to build trust. Let’s jump right in.

5. Build up your track record.

One of the easiest ways to build trust is to work on your track record that provides real, hard evidence of your success.

Think of it like this: Would you feel safe getting in a car with a first-time driver? Probably not. You want the person in the driver’s seat to know what they’re doing (so you don’t crash.) The same is absolutely true in business—people want to work with professionals they can trust—and that can prove they really know their stuff.

You can do this in two ways:

  • Through your professional work with various projects, challenges, etc.
  • Through ongoing education, certification, trainings, etc.

Both of these activities help build up your credibility and authority within your niche and create opportunities for third party endorsements—from a happy client, or from a respected institution. These efforts help provide the ethos you need to be a trusted resource.

4. Be consistent and reliable.

Ever been in a meeting with a new client and immediately noticed some red flags in the trust department? Maybe they were 15 minutes late…or they ordered alcohol at the bar (at 11 in the morning.) These indicators are major trust-breakers—and don’t demonstrate reliability.

A few ways to display reliability right off the bat:

  • Be on time for meetings. Better: Be early.
  • Always meet your deadlines. Better: Be ahead of schedule.

And a few ways to maintain consistency:

A great way to demonstrate these ultra-important qualities is to give yourself an assignment (like a document with initial questions or a polished job description) when you have your first meeting with a new client or potential hire. This will help you have a deliverable right away that you can present at the meeting—and you’ll be showcasing your amazing abilities from the start of the relationship.

3. Be personable.

It’s so tempting to slip into all business mode within a business context—but you have to maintain a human element in your working relationships if you want to be trusted. You should be the real version of yourself that is transparent, honest—and human—at all times.

There’s nothing worse then going into a meeting with someone who’s all business, right? There’s no chitchat beforehand that helps establish some initial rapport and trust. Look for things like common ground (maybe you went to the same college or have a mutual connection) that will get the ball rolling for these conversations.

Just remember: Be a human, not a business robot. People don’t trust robots.


Photo Credit: WOC in Tech

2. Show that you’re not just in it for you.

Having an “I’m only in it for me” attitude is not a great way to build trust with others. It’s pretty easy to detect folks with these attitudes, too. They’re the ones who are always looking out for #1.

So how do you overcome this perception? One of the simpler ways is to be a connector. Here’s what I mean: If a client comes to you asking for help with a project, but it’s not typically the type of work you do, you can connect them with a person who’d be better suited for the task.

This shows that you’re looking out for that person’s best interests and want them to get the best possible outcome. Making those introductions builds trusts because it shows you’re not always chasing the dollar—that you are a problem-solver who can connect the dots. In the future, when someone has a problem—they’ll turn to you as a solution-provider. Boom. Trust.

1. Don’t be a jerk.

Jerks. Ugh. They’re the ones who lack self-awareness and think they’re the bee’s knees. Seriously. They believe that they are the best, and they’re uncompromising in all they do. Nobody trusts a jerk.

In order to not be a jerk, you need to follow the lessons outlined in number 5-2 here, but you also need a constant reality check. Maybe it’s a mentor who offers some external perspective, a trusted advisor who evaluates your progress—get someone in your inner circle you can give you a healthy dose of realism.

The Best Ways to Build Trust: A Path to Success

If you can follow the steps here, you’ll be on the path to building trust within your internal and external relationships in no time at all.

Remember: Build up your track record, be reliable and consistent, be personable, don’t be in it for yourself, and for goodness sake—don’t be a jerk.

Anything you’d add to this list?

Kaleigh Moore

Kaleigh Moore is no stranger to small business. She's the Founder of Lumen -- a business that offers copywriting, social media services, and graphic design. When she's not contributing to the EnMast blog, you'll find her running or at the movies (because the running helps manage the movie snack consumption.) Connect with Kaleigh on Twitter, LinkedIn, or read her blog.

Speak Your Mind