Tuesday, August 29, 2006

A Matter of Trust

"How can you possibly trust someone you've only just met?"

An interesting question that I have been asked on more than one occasion by people new to networking events.

The answer lies not in a naive openess to all that many would shy away from, but in understanding degrees of trust and the suspension of distrust.

I believe that to say that 'I do not trust you' is not necessarily a negative thing. Trust is a positive feeling that has to be built based on evidence or strong emotion. When you first meet someone, unless they have a very special quality, it can be very difficult to 'trust' them.

However, at the same time you would have no reason to 'distrust' that person. Just as you need either strong evidence or emotion to trust people, so distrust is developed in the same way.

When you first meet people at a networking event, in truth you neither trust nor mistrust them. You don't even know them!

We often talk about the importance of giving to others if we are to receive. How can you do this without positive 'trust'?

Put quite simply, if you are in a position to help others, it is still possible to do so without putting your reputation at stake. You would merely be more guarded in doing so and your 'referral' would be more qualified. There is a difference between introducing someone you trust:

"You really must talk to Bill, I think he'll be able to solve the problem in your business"

or someone you have just met but can connect:

"I met Bill the other evening. He seems to have a solution that may help".

The second introduction is much more qualified that the first. Once your new acquaintance has proved themselves to you, you can start to build genuine trust in them and levels of trust, and the nature of your relationship, will change.

1 comment:

  1. One of my talks is about trust. The key to instant trust is how much the person you meet shows they like you. You immediately trust other people if they have good eye contact, are natural and ask you lots of questions and allow you to do most of the talking.