One of the most influential ways to invest in the currency of trust is through your language. Communication is our most powerful and persuasive tool; we must choose words carefully. Words offer context and communicate unique perspectives, giving insight into what you see, feel, or think. And our words translate into trust. Trust flourishes when we find new definitions and names for what we are experiencing, moving beyond our intuitive vocabulary to aim for maximum precision, honesty, and clarity. How we talk to ourselves and the people around us affects us positively and negatively and can allow trust to flourish or crumble.
The umbrella of trust: Why our words matter
When we use language to describe actions that create trust, it’s essential to be clear and concise. The words we use can impact the way others see us and the way we see ourselves. If we’re not careful, we can inadvertently perpetuate negative stereotypes or messages about trustworthiness. This is why it’s so important to choose our words wisely when talking about trust. We should use respectful, accurate, and inclusive language. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Avoid using terms that could be seen as judgmental or pejorative. For example, instead of saying “liar,” try “someone who isn’t being truthful.”
- Be specific about what someone did that created trust. For example, instead of saying “he’s a good person,” try “he kept his word.”
- Use gender-neutral language whenever possible. For example, instead of saying “trustworthy guy,” try “trustworthy individual.”
By being mindful of the language we use, we can help create a more positive and inclusive view of trustworthiness.
Avoiding coded words and phrases that may misconstrue your meaning is only part of the challenge. The next step is the act of scrupulously choosing our words. Each word or phrase uttered, either silently to ourselves or out loud, has the power to destroy or create what we are most searching for: trust. This is the power of our voice in action.
When we carry a positive intonation, it holds the potential to create more trust, while words spoken with a negative tone can cause sudden destruction. We must practice mindfulness in the choice of words used. Each syllable with precisely the right vibration has the power to build authentic connections with those around us. When we recognize the profound influence of our thoughts and words, we allow ourselves to leverage them to build strong relationships based on trust.
A quick note about the most dangerous words we utter — the silent ones, intended for no one but ourselves. Have you ever caught yourself saying something so hideous to yourself that it made you cringe? Most of the nonsense we tell ourselves does more harm than we can imagine. Try to catch yourself and stop the negativity so there’s plenty of room for positivity to bloom and flourish.
Over-communicate, early and often
The most important thing you can do to create trust is to over-communicate early and often. In our overly connected and interdependent world, we are distracted. We move fast. We miss things. When you have something important to communicate, and trust is on the line, lean into the concept of over-communicating early and often.
When it comes to fostering trust, it really is in the details. The importance of over-communicating cannot be overstated — it establishes credibility and provides reassurance. Level-set expectations from the beginning to drive healthy trust development. Tell people what you are going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you told them. The common phrase, “It’s better to say too much than not enough,” is very accurate, now more than ever. When communicating with someone, it is vital to be clear and concise. Ensure that you are sending the message you want and that the other person understands what you are saying. If there is any confusion, take the time to explain things further.
It is also important to communicate frequently. This way, you can build a rapport with the other person, and they can get to know you better. If there are any changes in your plans or ideas, make sure to communicate these as soon as possible. Frequent communication will create a bond of trust solid as steel, leaving no room for confusion or ambiguities.
Consistent messaging drives trust
People are inundated with daily messages, and standing out in the crowd can be challenging. Consistent messaging is a powerful tool in an era of clashing thoughts, saturated marketing campaigns, and overwhelming feedback. Consistency is critical regarding messaging, as it allows your audience to trust you and your brand. Here are a few tips to keep your messaging consistent:
- Plan your talking points, especially when communicating crucial or difficult information; not everyone thinks great on their feet so take time to plan out your words.
- Remember people tend to trust what they know. Don’t be afraid to repeat yourself — familiar wording helps breed a sense of familiarity that leads to trust.
When people see consistent messaging, they know what to expect from you. They know that you’re reliable and that they can trust you. On the other hand, if your messaging is all over the place, people will be confused and may not take you seriously.
If you can master consistent messaging, you’ll be well on your way to building trust with your audience. Consistent messaging can be a major factor in helping build trust through listening, understanding, and engaging with your customers. It helps build recognition amongst audience members and offers a sense of stability to the overall partnership.
Trust is built in quality communications which implore us to scrupulously select our words. When we pull apart our communication habits and put them back together a little stronger and more authentically, trust flourishes. Use your words to invest in the currency of trust because language is the most powerful and persuasive tool we have.