​Trust forms the basis of every relationship. It is essential that people can accept that you are who you say you are and, you will do what you say you will do. The converse is also true i.e. you must be able to trust others. Without trust, you would have to do absolutely everything yourself as you could not depend on others to get the job done. When you are trying to establish a relationship, in any area of your life, you must first succeed at building trust. Building trust in certain situations can be tricky. While you may be looking to trust people, have you thought about how people view you when it comes to trust?

​Assertiveness Tactics Report

Building trust is a key component of assertiveness. It allows you to stand up for yourself without upsetting others. You can learn to be more assertive with my FREE Assertiveness Tactics report.

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13 Powerful strategies for building trust

​Implementing the following 13 strategies will greatly improve your success rate when building trust. As a result, building trust with others will become a much faster, smoother experience

1. Keep to your word and follow through with your actions

because you believed building trust

 The entire purpose of building trust with others is that they will be able to believe you when you say that you will do something e.g. if you promise to perform a task for them, they should be able to hand the task over to you and forget about it until it is completed.

There will be times when you regret making a commitment but for the sake of the relationship, it is generally best that you follow through on your commitment and then avoid repeating the commitment. There will be some situations where you are required to break a commitment, but this should be communicated early and treated as a renegotiation.

The reason you often end up breaking your agreements is that you are afraid to say ‘No’. You don’t want to risk upsetting the other person or, looking bad in their eyes. However, if you can’t say ‘No’ you will end up taking on more than you can really manage. This leads to one of a few different outcomes:

  • ​You fail to get the work done on time
  • ​You fail to perform the work to an acceptable standard
  • ​Both of the above

​As you can see, none of these outcomes is good. If you regularly achieve any of these outcomes, you are going to look far worse in the eyes of others than you would if you just said ‘No’. Building trust is not just about keeping the promises you make; it is just as important to avoid making promises you can’t keep.

​Key point

An additional benefit of always keeping your word is that it communicates what you expect from others and they are more likely to treat you with the same respect; building trust in the process.

​Living your values

​A great deal of trust is about having strong values and, living by those values. You can learn more about the importance of values with 'Values Based Living.'

2. Learn how to communicate effectively with others

consistency is the building trust

This is usually the main reason why relationships fall apart, because of bad communication skills. As mentioned above, there will be times when you have to break a commitment but if communicated early and properly, this rarely becomes a major issue.

Another important element of communication is to be clear on what you have and have not committed to. Never leave the site of an agreement without double checking that all parties are crystal clear about what exactly has been agreed. Effective communication is critical to building trust.

One of the biggest causes of arguments between friends is the failure to clarify what has been agreed to and, what is expected from both parties. Instead of clarifying things, both people work off what they assume was agreed. Inevitably at least one of those people will end up disappointed when their expectations are not met. This most commonly arises when dealing with sensitive issues, such as money.

Trust is not when you avoid the difficult discussion and hope the other person understands. Trust is when you have the difficult discussion and know that the other person will understand why you need to have the conversation.

Building trust isn’t risk-free. It doesn’t happen by accident. It comes about as a result of giving others the opportunity to prove themselves trustworthy and, taking the opportunity to demonstrate that you are trustworthy.

​Key point

The message you intend to send is not always the same as the message which is received. Strong communication skills bridge the gap.

​​Talk so that others listen

​If you need to improve your communication skills, check out 'How to Talk So That Others Will Listen.'

3. It takes time to build and earn trust

it is more shameful building trust

Building trust should be viewed as a daily activity. Don’t expect too much too soon. Focus on small steps and small commitments. As the trust level grows, you will become more comfortable making and accepting bigger commitments.

Too often, when relationships turn sour, each person gives out about the other person and blames them for the problems in the relationship. It never crosses their mind that they are equally responsible for the relationship. Whatever, you want to improve in a relationship, you must be the goal.

So, if building trust in a relationship is important to you; your first focus should be to ensure that you are doing everything that you can to demonstrate that you are trustworthy and, that you are willing to trust them. Put trust in and you will usually get trust in return.

Ryan Deiss, a digital marketer, likes to say that you shouldn’t propose marriage on a first date and that is a really great way to look at it. Take things one small step at a time and building trust becomes easy. Expect too much too soon and you will scare people away.

Whatever area of your life you look at, you will get better results when you learn to accept responsibility​ for building trust in the relationship.

​Key point

While big events take the headlines, it is usually small, steady progress which yields the best returns in the long run.

Building trust should be viewed as a daily activity. Don’t expect too much too soon. Focus on small steps and small commitments. As the trust level grows, you will become more comfortable making and accepting bigger commitments.

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4. Take time when making decisions and think before acting too quickly

love all trust a few building trust

A lot of disagreement and broken trust arises due to one person agreeing to something that they didn’t really want to agree to. Don’t be that person. Before you make a commitment, make sure that you are happy to agree to it. Consider everything that is involved in keeping the commitment as you may find that you do not have the time or desire to follow through on it.

As unpleasant as it may seem, if you do not really want to do something you should say ‘No’. While others may be disappointed, agreeing to something and not following through would be far worse for everybody.

It is essential that you consider everything that you have on your plate before you take more on but for that to be possible, you must know exactly what you are committed to. It’s amazing how often you think that you have enough time for everything that you are asked to do but, when you set about doing it, you realise that you are already overloaded. You soon realise that either you can’t do it or, you don’t really want to do it.

This happens because you are not properly organised. You have no idea what you have agreed to because you haven’t set up an organisational system to capture every commitment, and track your progress, as you get work done. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but you do need to have some system in place, because while you might think it is mean to say ‘No’ to somebody; it is a lot meaner to yourself to say ‘Yes’ when you already have more than enough to be doing.

Personal organisation is essential to building trust with friends, family and colleagues. Ultimately, if you can’t do something or, you don’t want to do it; it is best to say ‘No’ rather than let everyone down. Being organised allows you to make an accurate assessment of whether you should accept or decline any requests you receive.

​Key point

If the other person does not want to give you time to consider, you should say No as it teaches them that you will not be pressured or harassed into meeting their demands.

5. Value those relationships you have and don’t take them for granted

love cannot live building trust

We all have friends and family in our lives that have been with us for years. It can be very easy to take these friendships for granted until problems arise, and we realise that we neglected this person. Even during very busy periods, it is always possible to find a little time for those that matter most to us. Taking this time will ensure that you have valuable, supportive relationships built on a bedrock of trust.

When relationships and friendships are at their height and, you are seeing each other regularly, it is easy to think that the relationship doesn’t require any effort. They do. It’s just that things are happening naturally, and you have regular reasons to meet or catch up.

You don’t notice how much effort goes into a great relationship until one person’s circumstances change e.g. change of job, relocation etc. Now to maintain the friendship, you must actively seek out your friend because you don’t just bump into them anymore.

This is important because a great deal of trust comes from consistency. Those who are consistently there by our side, through good times and bad, are the people we tend to trust most. As you go longer without communication, more events happen in each person’s life which go unshared. A greater distance starts to build between you and eventually you stop turning to each other when you need someone to talk to or, help you.

Trust is often about being there for each other, but you might forget that means being there; not being available. For example, it doesn’t mean you are on the other end of the phone if your friend chooses to call you; it means you are on the phone, talking to your friend. Consistently showing up will go a long way towards building trust with anyone.

One of my favourite book is 'The Prophet' by Kahlil Gibran. I have often given it to people as a gift. There is a wonderful passage on friendship which you can read here.

​Key point

Very few of our relationships bring us real joy. These are the relationships which should get the very best of us.

6. Treat your customers well and thank them for their business

never mistrust building trust

As above, don’t get so busy building trust and relationships with new people that you forget to nurture the relationships that you already have. It is far easier to maintain existing relationships. If you neglect these relationships, they may be lost and become virtually impossible to re-establish.

Remember that point I just made about consistently showing up playing a big part in building trust?  Research has shown that over 60% of sales are made after the fourth sales call but by that time, 94% of all sales people have given up and moved onto the next prospect. Those 94% don’t even give themselves a chance of making the sale.

Of course, when they disappear as quickly as they arrived, the customer can see that they are driven purely by the desire to make a sale, rather than helping the customer to solve their problems.

The best sales people only spend a small percentage of their time selling. Most of the time they are trying to understand the customer's challenges, offering value and just building the relationship. Then when the customer needs to make the purchase, who do you think they trust to deliver? The person who disappeared quickly or the person who kept in touch and consistently offered value?

It does require some effort to keep in touch with customers and potential customers, but that little bit of effort can pay huge dividends because by the time most customers choose to buy, the majority of your competitors have disappeared while you have built a trustworthy relationship. Sometimes, building trust is made easier by allowing others to prove they are not trustworthy.

​Key point

Sincere appreciation and gratitude are essential steps in building trust in any relationship.

​Living your values

​A great deal of trust is about having strong values and, living by those values. You can learn more about the importance of values with 'Values Based Living.'

7. Develop your team skills and participate openly

not upset building trust

Whatever team you find yourself in, you have value to offer. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be there. Do not be the quiet person that sits in the corner and contributes nothing. Those who do not contribute anything are viewed as freeloaders whom others find difficult to trust.

When you participate fully in a team and offer your insights, people respect and trust you. Even if they don’t agree with you, they value the fact that you are willing to offer your view and have a discussion. When building trust within a team, it is important that you demonstrate your willingness to trust others. Your openness and willingness to contribute demonstrates this.

You don’t have to be the one generating all the ideas to be of value in a team. Another part of building trust in teams is learning to offer feedback properly.

When you agree with something that another participant says, don’t be shy about expressing your agreement. But don’t just say that you agree as this can seem fake. Tell them why you agree and if possible, add to their suggestion. This shows that you are genuinely considering what others have to say before adding your own views.

If you feel that they need to give more detail about their suggestion, tell them what is confusing you and ask for a little more info.

It is also possible that you will disagree with others but don’t just attack their idea. Explain why you disagree. You can easily adapt the constructive feedback model to help you do this.

It’s not whether you agree or not that is helpful in building trust. What is essential when building trust is that you engage i.e. you consider what others say, demonstrate that you are listening, offer your thoughts and feedback in a respectful way and, demonstrate a willingness to be part of the team.

Turning up means physically being there but showing up means being engaged. Consistently showing up is an essential part of building trust.

​Key point

Team = Together Everybody Achieves More.

​​Talk so that others listen

​If you need to improve your communication skills for working in teams, check out 'How to Talk So That Others Will Listen.'

8. Always be honest

the best way to find out building trust

It shouldn’t really need to be said but sadly, it does; ‘honesty is the best policy’. People often tell small lies in an attempt to protect others or, to avoid trouble. However, when the other person finds out that you lied, they automatically assume that you are prepared to lie about everything. Your chances of building trust will be lost over a small lie that was of little worth to anyone.

While you may wish to present information in the most pleasant way possible, the message you communicate should always be the truth.

No matter what message you deliver to others, they must interpret the meaning for themselves. There are very few messages you can deliver which don’t have more than one possible meaning. The same goes for your actions. People don’t automatically understand your actions; they must interpret the actions for themselves.

You might wonder what that has to do with trust. The answer is everything. If you have been caught telling a lie, regardless of how small; your trustworthiness will have diminished in the other person’s eyes. This affects how they interpret your words and actions. The more they doubt your honesty; the more likely they are to adopt a negative interpretation. This further erodes trust. One small lie really can make building trust a lot more difficult.

​Key point

Telling somebody a lie to protect them is a case of you saying that you don't trust them to have the emotional maturity to deal with the truth. Building trust requires an emotional commitment to honesty too..

9. Help people whenever you can

to be trusted building trust

One of the most effective strategies when building trust is to be of service to others. If you help somebody in a way which provides no direct benefit to yourself, you will experience the indirect benefit of improved trust. Kindness really does go a long way.

When being kind to others, you mustn’t be unkind to yourself. As mentioned earlier, you probably already have a full plate. There are many things competing for your attention. You don’t want to take on another big commitment which will make matters worse. When being kind, it is important to remember the following:

  • ​Helping others shouldn’t cause you to miss important deadlines or events
  • ​Being kind doesn’t mean that you must do their job for them
  • ​If you keep helping them with the same thing, you are not helping them, you are doing their job for them
  • If they keep looking for help with the same problem, you are only helping them to avoid dealing with the problem
  • Kindness is often as simple as a few words of advice, pointing them in the right direction, helping them identify a solution
  • Kindness must never involve you taking responsibility for their work / life / problems

Taking responsibility for other people’s problems is not kind and is not good for building trust, because you are taking control of their life and preventing them from learning, growing and developing. When you help them solve their problems, rather than solve the problems for them; they get to learn from the experience which allows them to grow and develop. They learn to trust themselves and they trust you because you helped them trust and improve themselves.

Kindness is great for building trust, but you must ensure that it is real kindness. Real kindness does not foster dependence.

​Key point

Helping when you can means that you are not causing problems for yourself by helping others ease their problems. While you can do without a benefit, you shouldn't have to suffer a penalty either.

10. Don’t hide your feelings

trust is the fruit building trust

People have always tried to hide their feelings in order to appear tough and avoid the appearance of being vulnerable. However, people like and trust people who are most like them e.g. if you receive some upsetting news, they expect you to appear upset. They understand. If you try too hard to hide these emotions, you appear to be like a heartless robot and, nobody wants to trust a heartless robot.

When people know you care, they are more prepared to trust you. The honesty of your emotions can be a very powerful tool when building trust.

Feelings are meant to be felt and emotions are meant to be experienced.

I am a big fan of Robert Holden and in a piece, I read recently in his book, Be Happy, he talks about seeing each negative emotion as a visitor who comes with the gift of a lesson. When you are prepared to welcome it, experience it and learn the lesson it offers, the negative emotion quickly disappears.

Take anger for an example. If you are angry at me for something I have done, you could choose not to tell me because you don’t’ want to deal with the potential conflict. You will remain angry with me and, I won’t even know so, I get to be happy. And, seeing me happy is probably going to make you angrier.

If instead, you choose to see the anger as a lesson; you will choose to raise the issue with me. You will discuss the problem with me in a constructive manner and together, we can deal with the problem. Once the problem has gone away, your anger will quickly join it. The harmony and trust in our relationship will be restored; even increased as a result of working together to solve a problem.

Emotional intelligence is not about ignoring negative feelings. It is about acknowledging how you feel, learning the necessary lessons and taking constructive action on the back of those emotions. Emotional intelligence is critical for building trust because you don’t deny reality, you learn from it and use it to your advantage.

​Key point

As stated earlier, there is an emotional element to trust as well. If you don't believe the other person is emotionally mature or, that you can express your emotions with them, then building trust is going to be difficult.

Emotional intelligence is not about ignoring negative feelings. It is about acknowledging how you feel, learning the necessary lessons and taking constructive action on the back of those emotions.

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11. Don’t always self-promote

trust starts with building trust

Think about others. If they have worked hard and effectively, don’t they deserve some recognition too? When you recognise and appreciate the efforts of others you demonstrate your talent for leadership and teamwork. Building trust with those whom you work with becomes incredibly easy and you soon develop a team of people who will go that extra mile to help you.

Have you ever done something good for somebody and, felt unappreciated after doing so? If there was any difficulty in doing the good deed, you may not feel too inclined to help again. You don’t’ always expect payment but a little acknowledgement and show of appreciation can work wonders for your willingness to help again. When someone doesn’t appreciate a good deed you have done for them, they appear selfish. Selfishness has no role in building trust. It destroys trust.

It should be easy to see how you should acknowledge and appreciate somebody who has gone out of their way to help you. But what about when it was their job to help you or, you had an expectation that they should help you? Does this remove the need to acknowledge and appreciate the help you received? Of course not.

In any relationship, both people must contribute. When the other person never acknowledges your contribution, you feel unappreciated. Your trust and interest in the relationships begins to ebb away. Acknowledgement and appreciation are essential in building trust and maintaining good relationships.

People will rarely tell you that they want to be appreciated or, that they feel unappreciated. So, it is up to you be proactive and, make sure that they know you appreciate their efforts. Take time away from promoting yourself and ensure that you consistently acknowledge, appreciate and promote others for the help they give you.

​Key point

Most people only comment when they have something to complain about. Demonstrating that you notice the good stuff too will make it much easier to deal with any negatives which may arise because they trust you to be fair.

​​Talk so that others listen

​Having the right communication skills makes it a lot easier to acknowledge, appreciate and promote others on a consistent basis. Develop these skills with 'How to Talk So That Others Will Listen.'

12. Always do what you believe to be right

trust thyself building trust

You might think that life would be easier if you just did everything that others wanted. You would have all the approval that you could possibly want and, approval is nice. The problem with seeking approval is that you have to sacrifice your own values and beliefs to get it. In other words, you don’t trust yourself, or your values and your beliefs.

In addition, when people see that you are willing to sell out on yourself, they know that you will also be willing to sell out on them. Ironically, when you build a reputation for always doing what you believe to be right, even when others disagree with you; they respect your honesty, and integrity. It may seem strange, but when building trust, you have to be prepared to upset others.

If you are not prepared to upset others, you are not prepared to stand for anything. Think for a moment; do you trust people who don’t stand for anything? I know that I most certainly don’t. The person who doesn’t stand for anything will tell everybody what they want to hear but won’t tell anybody the truth. In fact, they are so busy pretending to be whatever you want them to be, they probably don’t know what the truth is.

People who don’t stand for anything are approval seeking. They tell you whatever they think you want to hear. At first this may work but soon you realise that you don't know who they are or, what they believe. You can’t trust somebody when you don’t who they really are. Approval seeking makes building trust a forlorn task.

Building trust with everybody is impossible. Some people are going to disagree with you so, they may not trust you. Building trust with those whom you care about is a lot easier. But they need to know who you are. They need to see what you stand for and what you stand against. So, ditch the approval seeking and stand for what you believe.

​Key point

Building trust with others is not enough if you don't have trust in yourself. If there is something you really believe to be right, you have to back yourself.

​Assertiveness Tactics Report

Building trust is a key component of assertiveness. It allows you to stand up for yourself without upsetting others. You can learn to be more assertive with my FREE Assertiveness Tactics report.

Get Your FREE Copy Here

13. Admit your mistakes

when the trust building trust

Everybody makes mistakes. When you try to hide your mistakes, you are hiding your own humanity. People know that you are being dishonest. When you accept and acknowledge your mistakes, you have the opportunity to share what you have learned from it. Showing your vulnerable side helps to build trust with others as they see you as somebody who is more like them.

Social psychology has repeatedly shown that you like people who are more like you. Most people are fully aware that they make mistakes, even if they never admit in public. If you are pretending that you don’t make mistakes, you are creating an unnecessary difference between you and them, making it harder for them to trust you. If they buy into your act, you may feel uncomfortable in their presence because your ‘perfection’ reminds them of their imperfections. They feel inferior by comparison. Building trust requires equality not inferiority or superiority.

Most people won’t’ believe your act though because they know that all human beings are fallible. They expect to see you make the occasional mistake. When all they see is the image of perfection that you project, they start to doubt your sincerity. Not only do they doubt the image you present but they begin to wonder

‘If that’s fake, what else is fake?’

Building trust is impossible when others consistently doubt what they see and hear from you.

​Key point

This is also a crucial step in building trust in yourself as you will realise that even though you make some mistakes, you have the ability to deal with the outcomes and move on. This will build your confidence to take the necessary risks to keep growing.

​Values Based Living

​The most important factor in building trust is to have clear values which define who you are and; to live true to those values.

​'Values Based Living' will enable you to do so.

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​While the above ways are all relatively easy to use, putting them into play may be difficult for some people. If you have been hurt or deceived in the past, learning to trust again can take a long, long time. But don’t give up on trusting people again; there are plenty of good, trustworthy people in this world. One of the best things that you can do is to focus on making sure that you are a trustworthy person who lives with honesty and integrity. Go through the above list and see if you can honestly say that you do all those things. If not, select one or two and work on improving them first. Building trust starts with being trustworthy. When you get this message across, you will find that building trust and respect with others becomes as natural as breathing.


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