Let’s begin with a disclaimer: Words alone do not build trust, says Darlene Price, president of Well Said, Inc., and author of “Well Said! Presentations and Conversations That Get Results.”
“Trust means that someone relies on you to do what you say you will do, or to act like the kind of person you say you are. Actions ultimately determine whether or not you earn another person’s trust,” she says.
However, words can lay the foundation.
“The right words invite people to trust you – they convince people to give you a chance to prove you’re a trustworthy person. The adage, ‘Actions speak louder than words’ is ancient wisdom for a reason.”
Getting people to trust you is imperative – and this is especially true at work.
“Would you believe in something, rely upon someone, or do business with a company you don’t trust? The answer is likely ‘no,'” says Price. “That’s because the basis for a healthy, productive relationship is trust. In fact, the word ‘trust’ comes from the Old Norse word ‘treysta’ meaning ‘to rely on or have confidence in.’ As the saying goes, ‘A relationship without trust is like a car without gas; you can stay in it all you want, but it won’t go anywhere.'”
As a professional, it’s critical to earn the trust of those with whom you work. “For example, as an employee, you need your boss to have confidence in your abilities before he or she will promote you. As a manager, you need your team to rely on your leadership before they’ll follow,” Price says. “As a speaker or presenter, you need your audience to believe in your message before they’ll act on your recommendation.”
When people trust you, they’re far more likely to believe in you, bond with you, and buy from you.
Here are 20 phrases that will help you earn the trust of your colleagues, boss, clients, and anyone else you work with:
‘You can trust us/me to do the job.’
“Researchers found that placing this sentence at the end of an advertisement for an auto service firm caused their trust scores to jump by 33%,” explains Price. “These powerful words of promise produced significant increases in specific areas of performance – from price and fair treatment, to quality and competency.”
When you want others to trust you, don’t be afraid to state the obvious – remind them that they can trust you.
‘Yes’ or ‘I will’ or ‘Absolutely’ or ‘I’ll be happy to.’
“When it’s appropriate to do so, give an affirmative response when others genuinely need and ask for your assistance,” says Price. “Imagine your boss asks, ‘Can you send me your proposal by 3pm? I need it for the customer meeting.’ Or a customer asks, ‘Can you help me solve this issue?’ Or a coworker requests, ‘Can you cover for me – my child is sick.’ Saying ‘Yes!’ to others when they need your help shows you care about them and that you’re invested in the relationship. It’s a sure way to earn their trust and foster good will.”
Avoid tentative or begrudging replies such as, “I’m really busy but I’ll try,” or, “Maybe … I’ll see what I can do.”
“Words like ‘try’ and ‘maybe’ imply the possibility of failure and diminish another’s ability to rely on you,” she explains. “Even worse are phrases that jeopardize trust such as, ‘That’s not my problem’ or ‘Well that’s not my job.'”
‘Thank you. I really appreciate your efforts’ or ‘I couldn’t have done it without you.’
When you recognize another person for their hard work and show sincere appreciation for a job well done, you set the stage for trust, she says. “You have demonstrated to that person that he or she may rely on you to treat them with dignity and respect.”
‘What this means to you is …’ or ‘The bottom line for you is …’ or ‘The advantages to you are …’ or ‘Here’s what you’ll gain when you …’
To earn someone’s trust, they need to know you have their best interests in mind. “From selling a solution or requesting funding, to leading a nation or convincing a loved one, be sure to communicate to listeners how they benefit from your suggestion or recommendation,” advises Price. “People act based on self-interest. When you demonstrate that you have their self-interest in mind, they are more likely to trust you.”
‘What do you think?’ or ‘You decide — I trust your judgment’ or ‘Great idea — let’s do it.’
When you show someone that you trust them, they’re more likely to trust you.
“Outstanding achievements are rarely a solo act,” Price says. “The best results depend on people helping each other. Therefore, trust is a two-way street. Avoid the ‘Do It Yourself” attitude; find ways to rely on others in the workplace. Show that you value and celebrate their input and give them opportunities to earn your trust.”
‘The results speak for themselves’ or ‘The track record shows …’ or ‘Research indicates …’
Don’t expect your listeners to always take your word for it or trust you based on your opinion. “Give them proof,” Price suggests. “Show them how, where, and for whom your proposal or recommendation has worked in the past. This may be a customer testimonial, your sales performance from last year, or a letter of recommendation. When possible, be sure to include concrete, quantitative studies or surveys to support your message.”
‘I understand’ or ‘I’m so sorry to hear that’ or ‘I know how difficult it must be when …’
Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. It conveys a sense of acceptance, compassion, and care, Price explains.
“Some psychologists assert that a human being’s deepest emotional need is to be heard and understood,” she says. “If that’s true, active listening and genuine empathy are critical keys to establishing trust in a relationship.”