Business is all about trust, and trust is all about people. People like who they trust, and trust who they like. This is precisely why it’s so important for businesses to focus on quality trust cultivation.
Trust is the cornerstone of success in any endeavor, especially when it comes to business. As an entrepreneur or small business owner, you know that your employees’ trust and faith in you as a leader is essential to faster growth and smoother operations. But how can you build trust? Leveraging language is a key strategy that allows businesses and leaders to scale up while building strong relationships rooted in trust with their teams.
1. Communicate to be Understood
Employees are every company’s most essential resource and leaders can move the needle on creating and cultivating trust through communication. Increasing workplace confidence and engagement starts with communicating with workers in a way they understand, oftentimes in their language. Employee retention improves with genuine engagement, and equitable communication; speaking with stakeholders in a language they comprehend is paramount to trust expansion. Leaders must commit to quality communications practice to genuinely cultivate a trusting environment.
Start by thinking about who you’re talking to — you wouldn’t speak to a 3-year-old the same way you’d speak to a CEO, even if trying to convey the same information. Alter your syntax, word choice and register. The secret is talking to people like they want to be talked to.
Tip! Ask people to repeat what you told them. “What I heard you say…” is a powerful conversation tool to ensure both parties truly understand each other.
2. Overcommunicate, Early and Often
We trust until we don’t. Unfortunately, no leader or company is perfect, and when the trust others hold in you is broken—which inevitably will occur—how you react is what matters. So, what do we do to start regaining trust? Here’s the golden rule: Overcommunicate, early and often. The power of overcommunicating early and often is that it shines a light on what has caused the trust to break down. When we name the breakdown and call it like it is, we can regain confidence.
Tip! Don’t be afraid to say the same thing twice, or twelve times. Scientists say that an average person needs to listen to something at least seven times to really hear it. We are bombarded with information overload every day and I think this is closer to twelve times.
3. Start – and End – With the Truth
Trust is paramount to everything good in life, yet it’s the most elusive—and most influential—solution to strive for. It exists on a continuum replete with various levels and depths, always starting and ending with the truth. Along this continuum, many small moments of truth-telling reinforce our ability to tap into our confidence—and encourage others to do the same. Trust emerges from the combination of these moments that build hope and assurance. It always starts on the inside and flows outward. Likewise, relationships are built on relying upon others and relinquishing power and control.
Tip! It’s easier to be consistent with your messaging when you’re telling the truth. You are bound to make mistakes, you’re human. When you mess up, own your mistake by offering a sincere apology and stick with the truth.
4. Words Matter
When it comes to building trust with business teams, words matter more than people might think. After all, words are the foundation upon which relationships and trust are built. The language we use is an incredibly powerful tool when it comes to building trust, which is the key to scaling your business. There is no miracle formula for success, however, focusing on cultivating authentic trust allows for the establishment of meaningful relationships with customers, employees, vendors and partners. The language of trust includes the words we choose that become powerful tools for conveying trust. With the right words and consistent messaging, teams can build strong foundations of trust within their business operations that help them achieve success faster and more efficiently.
Tip! Ask a few friends or family members to describe a beautiful sunset and you’ll get a different version, every time — this is why words matter. Lean into new words and you might make a greater impact!
When you speak the truth, it’s much easier to say the same thing. When reinforced by overcommunicating, early and often, consistent messaging across your organization furthers the development more than any other technique. All your stakeholders want to know who you are and what you stand for across all areas. Open and honest messaging delivers trust into your palms. This means all your messaging—including your marketing material, website, digital content, and general information—must be dependable, similar, and truthful. You must repeatedly and unvaryingly show up with the same identity and message in every platform you occupy. This is the only way your content consumers can truly know you and believe you are who you say you are.
Words matter in trust development because they establish a shared understanding among team members. Without clear communication, misunderstandings will arise and confidence can be broken. By using effective words in conversation, trust cultivates. Just as important as the words we choose are how well we listen.
Active listening, asking open-ended questions, and responding thoughtfully helps teams create collaborative work environments where everyone feels respected. Clear language also helps to ensure that expectations are aligned across the board so that there is less confusion and fewer surprises down the line. This helps to increase productivity and efficiency within teams.
Overall, words play an essential role when it comes to building trust with teams because they create common ground on which relationships can be formed and strengthened over time. Trust encourages open dialogue among team members which leads to better problem-solving strategies and enhanced customer satisfaction rates; it also creates more productive work environments where employees feel respected and valued for their contributions leading to greater employee loyalty throughout the organization which ultimately results in higher profits over time.
Trust is vital for maintaining a healthy company culture and reaping the rewards from increased growth. Cultivating trust with your team improves collaboration, drives innovation and helps you expand your business effectively and efficiently.
Ingrid Christensen is an entrepreneur, business leader, and advocate passionate about providing equal access to information to everyone, no matter what language they speak. The President and Founder of INGCO International, Ingrid launched the company in 2006 after witnessing firsthand how translation and interpreting services bridge divides and connect people from different cultures. Today, INGCO provides translation and interpreting services in over 200 languages to companies across the globe in various sectors. Ingrid is also the author of The Language of Trust: Communicate to Build Meaningful Relationships in Business and Life.