Mindful Humans

Inspiring Trust: The Key Factor in Leadership

THIS ARTICLE WAS PUBLISHED ON REVUE GESTION WEBSITE.

If you want to have a remarkable impact, you will need to do more than just develop your skills and work hard. You must also inspire trust in those you interact with. Otherwise, your ability to influence them will be greatly limited, despite the breadth of your expertise.
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For instance, consider someone you don’t trust. If they propose a new idea, chances are you’ll be closed off to their suggestion, even if it’s entirely relevant. Without trust, there is resistance.

Conversely, if someone you trust asks for help requiring a particular effort, it’s likely that you’ll be open and willing to be influenced by the ideas they express.

In a work context, you are constantly either strengthening or tarnishing your credibility. Understanding what makes the difference between building trust or inspiring mistrust then becomes a significant asset for success.

 

Measure the Effect You Have on Others

When you communicate, you have an effect. The words you choose, the tone used, your intonations, your posture, and your facial expressions are all elements that influence the message you convey.

However, research shows that words don’t have as much influence as one might think — even in a highly technical and specialized context. Indeed, according to studies conducted by Albert Mehrabian, a professor of psychology at the University of California:

  • 7% of communication is verbal (choice and meaning of words);
  • 38% is vocal or paraverbal (tone, intonation, voice rate);
  • 55% is visual or non-verbal (posture, gestures, facial expressions).

Thus, the impact of your communications is not limited to the quality of your reasoning and the words chosen. These words are essential, but they are not enough. The way you say things and your demeanor have a considerable effect on your interlocutors.

Consider an introverted expert who lacks self-confidence. Their weak voice pitch, hesitant intonation, and poor posture could undermine their ability to rally others to their proposals. Their influence is weakened by their paraverbal expression and non-verbal language, despite the relevance of their arguments.

The very functioning of the human brain is at stake here. Indeed, in your interlocutor, the words used appeal to their rational faculties. However, the human brain thinks in two ways: rationally and intuitively. Intuitively, beyond words, we detect the mindset and emotional state of our interlocutor by interpreting their paraverbal and non-verbal languages. If these are not consistent with their words, the bond of trust is weakened, and the capacity to have an effect on the other is thus reduced.

In a professional context, the trust you inspire comes from:

  1. Your expertise;
  2. Your presence;
  3. Your reliability.

 

Your Expertise

At work, it goes without saying that the trust you inspire depends on your skills and knowledge. However, these are not enough. It is also essential to express yourself clearly to optimally appeal to your interlocutor’s rational faculties.

Take the example of a mechanic you consult to have your car repaired. Knowing absolutely nothing in this area, you would be perplexed if the mechanic explained his estimate using jargon unknown to you. You might then become wary and ask for a second opinion, especially if his estimate seems rather high! The same applies when you speak to a client who does not have the same expertise as you. You will engage their intelligence and convince them of your excellence only if they can understand you! Using unsuitable vocabulary is a sure way to reduce your credibility.

 

Your Presence

Your presence is based on everything that revolves around words. How to surely capture your interlocutors’ attention? Describe your idea with dynamic intonation, punctuated with pauses and tone changes, and notice how others will be absorbed by what you say. Thus, you will engage their intuitive faculties by presenting an image of yourself as someone committed, passionate, and convinced. Present your idea in a monotonous tone and without enthusiasm, and your credibility might take a hit.

The same goes for your posture and facial expressions. The coherence between these and your words is essential, as your interlocutors, using their intuitive capabilities, might detect a lack of authenticity or conviction in you, which could negatively affect the credibility they afford you.

Your presence also depends on your ability to stay in the present moment. Listen actively and demonstrate empathy: these human values inspire trust every time, creating a closeness with your interlocutor.

 

Your Reliability

Last but not least: be reliable. Keep your promises, and your interlocutors will trust you, as they will be able to see concretely that you are a committed person. Also, demonstrate consistency in managing your emotions. Thus, others will intuitively know that they can count on you, even in difficult situations.

 

Do You Inspire Trust?

The last time you prepared for a meeting, what percentage of your efforts did you devote to your PowerPoint presentation or the report you wrote for the occasion? 95% of your efforts? 100%? Then keep in mind that words only represent 7% of your communication.

Did you beforehand consider the relationship you have with your interlocutor? Are you already credible in their eyes? To what extent will your way of saying things and your demeanor contribute to your success?

Invest as much time as necessary to present rational arguments and flawless logic, but do not neglect the way you say things and your demeanor. These are your greatest assets for inspiring trust and influencing others.

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