It’s that word that seems so immeasurable—trust.
When growing your audience and authority online, building trust with others is a requirement.
But trust is slippery because in the online space, we are SKEPTICAL of things on the internet!
So how do you get strangers on the internet to TRUST you?
Shift your focus from trying to get others to trust you to elevating your trustworthiness..
What exactly is trustworthiness? And how do you go about elevating it in this skeptical online space?
Cue my expert guest, Andrea Howe.
She’s the Founder of the Get Real Project and co-author of the Trusted Advisor Fieldbook: A Comprehensive Toolkit for Leading with Trust.
I first met Andrea almost a decade ago when I hired her to come into my former company to run a workshop with our team on building trust based relationships.
She was so effective we brought her back again and again.
When I was creating a 3 part series on the “know, like and trust factor”, I knew the ONLY person to talk about trust in a tangible way, was Andrea.
In this episode Andrea helps us understand and evaluate our trustworthiness while breaking down the Trust Equation and so much more. Here’s some highlights:
Trustworthiness and the Trust Equation
A term from the book ‘Trusted Advisor’ that has become the go to in the consulting industry. Charlie Green (the co-author of the Andrea’s book mentioned above) is one of the three original authors of a book that was published 20 years ago.
In that original book, Charlie and his co-authors created the ‘Trust Equation.’
Andrea shares: “It’s really meant as a model or framework for our own personal trustworthiness and how were experienced by others. I love that he zeroed in on trustworthiness for the primary reason that it means that we get to zero in on what we can actually do something about. I can’t necessarily do something about directly whether or not you are a trusting person. I can directly influence the likelihood that you will trust me and find me trustworthy….”
The 4 Elements of the Trust Equation
The Trusted Advisor defined trustworthiness as a direct function of this equation:
(Credibility + Reliability + Intimacy) / by something they call: Self Orientation.
Andrea says think of it like this:
“for your trustworthiness to be as high as possible, you want your credibility, reliability and intimacy to be as high as possible and your self -orientation to be as low as possible.”
Here’s a quick snapshot of each element as told in the interview:
- Credibility – Words “… what you say and how you say it. Most of us tend to focus on amplifying credibility by working on our credentials, our quals, our ‘as seen on,’ or ‘as scene in.’ That’s definitely one dimension… there’s another dimension of credibility, that it is at least equally important, if not considerably more important. That’s honesty or truthfulness. Can people count on what you say?”
- Reliability – Actions “The extent to which what you say you’re gonna do and what you do to line up or when they fall out of alignment. The extent to which you’re in communication about that as quickly as possible. It’s fundamentally about consistency and predictability.”
- Intimacy – Safety “…it’s the rapport, and relatedness, and connection, and ease that people either do or don’t experience with you. If they experience you as generally safe, safe haven, safe person to engage with, then your intimacy score is going to be high. “
- Self Orientation – Focus “Think in terms of your attention. Is your attention on them? The universal them — your client, your audience, others out there, or is your attention primarily on you? Generally speaking, we want the attention to be out there as much as possible rather than over here. The other dimension… is motives. Why are we sharing what we’re sharing, saying what we’re saying, doing what we’re doing? Is it in service of others or is it in service of ourselves?”
How TRUST plays into online marketing:
04:56 In the online space we’re so used to the formula where you build your audience, you put out a freebie, you put the freebie out there, get people engaging with it, and then BOOM! — here’s the program. I think a lot of times this has become a transactional thing instead of a understanding that to have someone truly want to invest in you and your programs, they have to ultimately feel connected and believe that you’re going to help them get the results that they’re after. Trust is a big piece of that. [Heather]
Building credibility quickly
33:40 Very often, the best thing that we could do to build credibility and build it quickly is to be really honest, even and especially if we’re being honest about something that might make us look bad. For example, being willing to say ‘I don’t know’ or ‘I have no idea,’ ‘I know nothing about that.’ Being willing to cop to having made a mistake or screwing something up. Being willing to confess that you’re relatively new at something.
Showing your weakness in building credibility.
33:40 Very often, the best thing that we could do to build credibility and build it quickly is to be really honest, even and especially if we’re being honest about something that might make us look bad.
Masterful listening: one of the fastest ways to increase trust and influence
01:05:09 If we’re in the business of advice giving and we’re wanting people to adopt our advice until listen to what we have to say, most of us start with crafting our message in a compelling way, being articulate, being confident, and all of those things are important., but they don’t matter nearly as much as listening first. The key actually to being influential, is being a masterful listener.
Effective approach in dealing with Skeptics
1:06:00 If somebody pops up as a skeptic, and they say they’re having a very different point of view, I have to be careful about not just combating that with my point of view. I have to show that I’m really getting what they’re saying, that I’m getting underneath their concerns, that I may be helping clarify the concern for them, that I’m validating or affirming that it makes sense that they might see it that way. It can make sense that they might see that way, even if I disagree with it. But I got to get in their world in order to earn the permission, to be then in their world.
Why is humor an effective tool for trust building?
(1:10:30) A study done by the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School, actually shows, when we use humor well, it actually builds our credibility.
About my guest:
Andrea Howe, Founder of the Get Real Project and co-author of The Trusted Advisor Fieldbook: A Comprehensive Toolkit for Leading with Trust
Andrea is a recovering information technology consultant who has spent more than 25 years working with clients, managing projects, and facilitating groups of all kinds and sizes. In 2006 she got laser-focused on the subject of trust at work—specifically, what it takes to create exceptional relationships that are both distinctive and lasting.
Andrea has since worked with executives, leaders, and teams throughout the U.S. and Canada, as well as in Mexico, Brazil, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Australia, Singapore, and more. She is consistently described by her audiences as thought-provoking, engaging, practical, and real.
When Andrea’s not working, you might find her in her art studio taking forever to finish her latest mosaic project.
- The Trusted Advisor Fieldbook: A Comprehensive Toolkit for Leading with Trust
- Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Dr Robert Cialdin
Prior episodes mentioned: