Thursday, June 18, 2009

Building Trust and Playing Jazz

On Tuesday evening I spoke at the launch of The JC Wizonet network. The other speaker on the evening was Ruby Wax, who spoke about the importance of trust in the workplace.

Obviously, trust is an essential component of good networking and a vital ingredient in generating referrals or encouraging people to recommend you. I listened carefully as Ruby illustrated how she built trust with the celebrities she has interviewed, and also showed us where she has got it wrong in the past.

The most interesting point that she made was that to win trust we need to be "as human as we can." Ruby explained how we are taught to be stereotypes; The Leader, The Expert or in her case, The Presenter. We capture ourselves in a thin beam of who we think we are, or should be, and lose that genuine contact.

Ruby explained how she failed to build any empathy with her early subjects. She was focused on getting the interview right and wanting to "win", rather than relating to and empathising with her interviewees.

"I found myself wondering if everyone that I spoke to was nuts", Ruby said. "I wanted to win and wasn't interested in anything about them. It was grotesque."

Changing tack, Ruby found more success by ditching preconceived notions about her interviewees before meeting them and letting the conversation flow. "You know when you are in the flow", she said. "It's like playing jazz."

Humanism, said Ruby, is the glue that binds us together. "Barack Obama has it in spades. He can talk to and relate to anyone. The most powerful thing that man can say is 'I don't know'. Although he can't use that all the time!"

It was an interesting talk with some key points about building trust with people. Relating to others on a very human level, finding out what is interesting about them and sharing vulnerabilities were all key.

"Everyone has a story", Ruby said. "Everyone is interesting. It's up to you to find it. If you can't, that's your problem".

image taken by John R. Rifkin Photographer 020 8958 1370

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