Planting a Seed of Trust in the First 10 Seconds

July 6, 2015

Investment concept, close up of female hand holding stack of golLast summer I attended a “Speed Networking” event at my local Chamber of Commerce. It was one of those affairs where you meet a series of new people but only get to talk with each one for three minutes.

I met over 20 people that morning and paid attention to how well they did at making a first impression of being trustworthy. Most people did OK, but there was one young man who I thought totally blew everyone else away with his ability to connect with me instantly.

By his body language, he was able to convey that he was totally interested in meeting me in a way the others were unable to do. It was like the way a puppy can look at you and compel you to take him home.

At the moment we met, this young man let me know I was the most important person in the world to him at that time.

Before we even shook hands he had me convinced that he was special. When we did shake hands instead of saying how nice it was to meet him, I said

“Congratulations! You are going to be a very wealthy man.”

He had an amazing gift of connecting and planting a seed of trust in just a few seconds.

In his book, “Blink,” Malcolm Gladwell described how human beings have an amazing ability to size each other up in a heartbeat. Malcolm called the phenomenon “thin slices,” for the ability to gather huge amounts of data about another person in a second.

He suggested we make a first impression in about three seconds. I say we can stretch it out all the way to 10 seconds, but the exact duration isn’t important.

The point is that we can form a relationship that can point toward trust with another person in a remarkably short time.

Anyone can learn how to plant a seed of trust when first meeting people, and it will result in their relationship progressing at 10 times the rate that it otherwise would.

Exercise for you: Today, as you meet new people, pay attention to their body language. For example, eye contact is extremely important, even before the handshake.

Make sure you show them how important they are and how anxious you are to meet them.

Your posture is also important to send the message of a sincere individual. A slight head tilt is often a good sign because it can indicate a desire to listen carefully. Good posture also shows respect for the other individual.

The magic is in the body language and what is going on in your subconscious mind. What you are thinking comes through automatically on the inaudible channel. Last summer I made a brief (10 minute) video about the techniques for Trust Across America: Trust Around the World.

You can plant seeds of trust with people very quickly once you learn to project the right attitude. Trust comes from the heart, and people often have the ability to read what is going on in your mind.

I believe the first 10 seconds when meeting someone new can be golden opportunity if handled well.

This concept can have a huge impact on your success in life because your relationships will progress much faster toward mature trusting relationships.

 

The preceding was derived from an episode in “Building Trust,” a 30 part video series by Bob Whipple “The Trust Ambassador.” To view three short (3 minutes each) examples at no cost go to http://www.avanoo.com/first3/517


Trust is Bilateral

June 27, 2015

small babies twins on parental hands isolated on white backgrounMy daughter taught me a vital lesson about trust when she was four years old. I used to travel a lot for work, and when I would come home exhausted from a week on the road, she would run up to me and shout “Daddy, Daddy, twirl me.”

I would grab hold of her little wrists being careful to not jerk them, and rotate backward lifting her off the ground. She would laugh and giggle as I rotated her around for 15 seconds, then when I set her down, she would always say “Again!”

So I would pick her up and do it all over. The lesson she taught me is that of all the times I twirled her, I hardly ever dropped her.

Because she was trusting me with her life, I was compelled to rise to that level of trustworthiness and protect her.

The lesson she taught me was that trust is bilateral. If we want to receive more trust in our lives, we need to find ways to show more trust in other people.

I have come to call this phenomenon “The First Law of Trust.”

If you are not happy with the level of trust you are seeing from other people, the first thing to do is find ways to show more trust in them.

That may seem illogical, but it actually works. Trust given to others reflects back to us every time.

A conundrum for leaders is that not all employees are trustworthy. Surely I am not recommending that a leader trust someone who has consistently shown that he or she is not capable of rising to an acceptable level of performance.

Of course not! You would not trust a young biology student to perform open heart surgery on you. Instead you can find some way to extend some measure of trust that the person can achieve. You might trust the biology student to complete his homework assignment tonight.

With reinforcement and shaping of behavior, I believe it is possible to make solid gains over time toward more trustworthy behavior. Enough assignments along with specific training in school and as an intern means eventually the young student can be trusted to perform surgery.

The exercise for today is to find several ways you can show higher trust in other people. Often very small gestures can make a big difference in starting a new momentum of trust between people.

For example, you might allow them to try something that previously you always did yourself. You don’t need to take reckless chances with the extension of trust, but do allow your creativity to think about what might be a reasonable way to show higher trust.

Extending more trust is one of the best ways to obtain more trust yourself.

Most people forget this simple rule. Even when it seems people cannot be trusted, if you find small ways to show more trust in them, they will inevitably rise up and become more trustworthy. Try it, and you will see great progress in your relationships.

The preceding was derived from an episode in “Building Trust,” a 30 part video series by Bob Whipple “The Trust Ambassador.” To view three short (3 minutes each) examples at no cost go to http://www.avanoo.com/first3/517


Categories of Trust

June 20, 2015

gears and teamworkI have always thought of trust as a single concept: I either trust you or I do not trust you at any time.

It seemed simple enough, but after studying the phenomenon for over 20 years, I have come to realize there are many different flavors of trust with other people that we experience all the time. Trust is a set of interlocking concepts that form a pattern for each person we know.

Here are a few examples:

Reliance:  I might trust you because I know you have my back and will do what is in my best interest.

Consistency: I might trust you because you are consistent and always do what you say.

Common Values: I might trust you because we share common values.

Safety:  I might trust you because I know I can tell you what I really think without feeling punished in some way.

So I now envision trust as it relates to others as a complex set of concepts about my relationships with them. I now think of it as a mosaic or pattern rather than a singular lens.

That pattern changes based on the transactions between myself and other people. The types of trust are ever evolving and either gaining or losing strength.

Picture the concept of trust as being like a kaleidoscope with an infinite number of complex designs that change as you move through time. The glass pieces that make up the design are a fixed number, but the mirrors in the kaleidoscope, just like the different categories of trust, make new patterns as you experience changes in your relations with others.

Exercise for you: Today, as you interface with people, try to visualize the different patterns of trust you have with them. Notice how the pattern shifts as the day progresses and transactions occur.

Witness the beauty and variety of trust in your relationships. Each transaction has the potential to increase or reduce the trust based on your perception of what is going on.

Understanding that trust is a complex set of interrelated concepts will allow you to experience the richness of your relationships with others. It may become confusing or frustrating at times, but that is the reality of life.

As you see the wonderful patterns of trust unfold in front of your eyes, you will begin to experience the beauty of life and relationships at a higher level.

The preceding was derived from an episode in “Building Trust,” a 30 part video series by Bob Whipple “The Trust Ambassador.” To view three short (3 minutes each) examples at no cost go to www.avanoo.com/first3/517

 


Trust is Ubiquitous

June 13, 2015

Trust, Colorful words hang on rope by wooden pegMost people think of trust as a concept between themselves and the people they know.

Of course that is true, but that viewpoint is only a tiny part of how pervasive trust is in our lives. Trust is in the fabric of just about everything you do.

When you start your day, you go through several rituals of cleaning your body, getting dressed and groomed, feeding yourself, locking up your abode, and transporting yourself to your place of work.

By the time you get there, you have already experienced trust several hundred times.

You cannot turn on the shower without trusting the water system. Every time you go over a bridge, you are trusting that you won’t end up in the river. When you take a vitamin pill, you must trust the people in the drug company that made the pill.

On and on all day long, you instinctively experience trust and rarely think of it unless there is a power failure or something drastic happens in your environment that prevents you from trusting.

For all of us, trust in our lives is far more complex and ubiquitous than we recognize.

Since we are expert at trusting the things in our lives, it is ironic that trusting other people can sometimes be a major hurdle.

We need to recognize that trust is present every moment of every day, and we need to manage our feelings about trust with other people and even trust in ourselves.

By becoming more cognizant and appreciative of the role of trust in our lives, we gain a stronger grasp of the nature of it and the role it plays.

Exercise for you: For the next day, try to visualize how trust is working in your life. Experience the role of trust not only in your personal relationships but also in your everyday activities. Try to imagine what life would be like if you did not trust, in those moments that you absolutely need to. How would you cope?

This series of short articles over the next several weeks will illuminate dozens of aspects about trust that are often taken for granted but that have a profound impact on every one of us and the lives of others we know and love.

We will mostly deal with interpersonal trust in this series, but realize the topic is much broader, and often the more abstract types of trust end up influencing the trust we have in others and ourselves.

During this series, you will learn how to build more trust with the people you work with, and the people at home. You will begin to have a greater appreciation for the role that trust can play, and harness it to create astounding results in your life.

The preceding was derived from an episode in “Building Trust,” a 30 part video series by Bob Whipple “The Trust Ambassador.” To view three short (3 minutes each) examples at no cost go to www.avanoo.com/first3/517


Great Leadership Revolves Around a Single Concept

June 6, 2015

circular arrows  icon, vector illustration. Flat design styleAs a young boy, the study of leadership was fascinating to me. It seemed important to know what distinguished the great leaders from the many individuals who try hard but never measure up to greatness. My early years were spent observing leaders but not finding answers to the true key to leadership.

After starting my career, the study of leadership became more pressing. Reading numerous books and taking courses or watching videos pointed me in the right direction.

I was mentored by the great leadership gurus of all time: people like Napoleon Hill, Earl Nightingale, John Maxwell, Brian Tracy, and hundreds of other authors.

The most important lessons came when my team created a leadership laboratory in the areas that reported to me at work. For over 30 years we learned from each other the most important lessons about leadership.

In the final analysis, we discovered that there are hundreds of behaviors that constitute great leadership, but all of them are enabled by just one concept.

That concept is trust.

Leaders who create high trust enable other engagement activities to work like magic, but leaders who fail to generate high trust work like crazy on all the other behaviors without much success.

Trust becomes the golden key to the door of great leadership.

If you know how to create trust, your success as a great leader is assured. If you do not have the ability to generate high trust, you will be locked out of the halls of great leadership.

Spend some time today thinking about how well you currently do at building and maintaining trust in your organization. If you are honest with yourself, the answer will be obvious in how others interface with you daily.

Low trust is easy to spot, and so is high trust. For example, low trust is often evident in body language where people find it difficult to look each other in the eye.

There is a lot of gossip, and people say things in one venue that are different from what they say somewhere else. With high trust, communication is more genuine, and leaders can readily admit mistakes without loss of respect by their subordinates.

In the coming weeks you can read several articles about trust right here. We’ll discuss what trust is, how to achieve it, how to repair it when compromised, and how to use it to create an excellent organization.

We will discuss how creating an environment of low fear is the great enabler of trust within any group. My favorite quotation on the Leadergrow website is;

“The absence of fear is the incubator of trust.”

When people know it is safe to voice their opinions without the worry of being reprimanded, then trust grows quickly.

 

The preceding was derived from an episode in “Building Trust,” a 30 part video series by Bob Whipple “The Trust Ambassador.” To view three short (3 minutes each) examples at no cost go to www.avanoo.com/first3/517


Improving Teamwork

May 30, 2015

Colorful fun

We have all heard the phrase, “All I need to know I learned in Kindergarten.” It came from an article written by Robert Fulgham in 1993 that later became a series of books and tapes. His five key points bear repeating when we think about teamwork. They are:

• Share everything,
• Play Fair,
• Don’t hit people,
• Say you’re sorry when you hurt someone, and
• Take a break in the afternoon for cookies.

Doing what is simple and right is a prerequisite for getting along in this world. Let’s examine this primitive, but profound wisdom as it relates to teams.

Share Everything

Teams exist to accomplish some kind of a goal. Whether it is winning a football game, writing a budget, or gaining a new client, there is always an objective. If you are on a team that has no reason to exist, resign. You are wasting your precious time.

Once everyone on the team understands the vision, the path is clear to figure out how to do it. For that, you need the participation of everyone, not just the leader or a few aggressive members.

The magic of a team is the diverse ideas in the heads of all members. People who keep their ideas to themselves out of embarrassment or other issues, rob the team of the creative juices necessary for outstanding results.

Share your ideas and thoughts on how the team can work well. Be an active member of the team. Don’t assume that, because you are in the same room (or virtual environment) with the rest of the team you are doing your share. As an wise old English teacher of mine used to day, “Put on a suit, and get in the game.”

Play Fair

Duh ?- – – this seems so obvious as to be trivial, but it actually is often a huge roadblock in effective team dynamics. How can this be? It is because what seems fair to me, may not seem fair to you. I had a student tell me once, “I am the kind of person who does what he thinks is right.” Well….duh..again.

Can you imagine someone going around doing what he/she thinks is wrong? I can’t. It is practically impossible to do what you think is wrong unless you are trying to break a bad habit and can’t. Even then, you rationalize, with, “I just needed that piece of chocolate cake today for my sanity. I’ll make up for it tomorrow.” You would need to be a psychopath to do something you honestly believe is the wrong thing to do.

So, all of us, most of the time “play fair” according to our own set of beliefs, values, and circumstances. We may not turn in a team assignment when we agreed to, but that is because we had a terrible day at work. When we got home, the basement was flooded and we had to call the fire department to pump it out. Or, the power was out for two hours which was the time we set aside for this. Or, something happened to our computer, etc. etc.

Don’t get me wrong, these kind of emergencies do come up and cause people to miss responsibilities. That’s life. Other team members will excuse an occasional lapse due to problems beyond control. However, I have witnessed employees who have some kind of “natural disaster” happen to them every week.

After a while, you get the feeling they either are under a “black cloud,” or they are finding reasons to not perform. The interesting point is that they truly believe it is physically impossible to meet commitments. In other words, they are completely justified in their own mind and “playing fair.” Others may not share that opinion, so this leads to conflict.

This exact dynamic is going on to varying degrees all the time between team members. In most cases people put up with the vagaries of the other team members because they don’t want to cause trouble.

However, many times the “disconnects” between people become large enough that the small issues become huge issues in the mind of one person. Then you have open conflict that must be resolved.

Don’t Hit People

When we get frustrated enough, we tend to lose perspective. I don’t know why this happens, but it is part of the human condition. When a team member is far enough out of line, other members begin to take it personally and “attack” the problem person.

Naturally, since this person was “playing fair” according to his/her perspective, he/she becomes angry and defensive. I battle emerges because each party honestly believes the other person is acting irrationally.

This is easy to recognize. One person will throw an “e-grenade” at the other person who says, ” Ouch ! not only did that hurt, but it was unfair. He needs to realize he can’t treat people that way, and I am just the one to do it.” Back comes a bigger “e-grenade” into the computer of the first person, who says, “Well that proves it, he is a real jerk who needs to be put in his place once and for all. Not only is he impolite, he isn’t even quoting me right.”

Back comes a huge “e-bomb” that really blasts the other party. The whole thing has degenerated into the kind of food fight you see in kindergarten. After a while the issue at hand becomes irrelevant and it is more of a personal vendetta between individuals.

There is a 100% cure for this problem. Remember the old adage, “It takes two to tango.” If the recipient of the first “e-grenade” doesn’t take the bait, the issue does not escalate. That is tough to do when you are the recipient of a hurtful comment.

Good teamwork requires the ability to take a shot and not hit back. One easy way to accomplish this is to change the venue. If an attack comes in an e-mail, don’t respond in kind. Pick up the phone or go visit the other person to resolve the issue.

Say You’re Sorry when you Hurt Someone

Sincere humility is the balm that heals up team wounds. Recognize that, in the heat of battle, things may become overheated. You will know this when it happens to you. An echo will bounce back from a note you sent that has a bad taste. You immediately know that you have angered a team member or, at least confused him/her. This is the time to send a humble apology. You can restate the goal and reiterate your commitment to the team as well. This must be followed by a change in action, or it will not work.

Imagine a Greg on the playground who shoves a Mike over something unimportant. Mike says, “Hey whata’ya want to go and do that for?” Greg replies, “Yeah, you’re right, I’m sorry,” but the minute Mike turns his back Greg spits at him. Well, the teacher better get out his whistle, because there is going to be a fight.

Take a break in the afternoon for cookies

Working in teams is actually hard work. Not only must you do the assigned task, you need to keep people from getting on each other’s nerves. That means the stress level is sometimes high for two reasons. It is important to take a break and have some “cookies” from time to time.

Realize most of the “problems” that are driving you crazy today will be unimportant to you in a week or so. When you take the time to celebrate the small wins along the way, it rejuvenates the team for the next round.

Be lavish (but sincere) with your praise and thanks to other team members and they will appreciate it. Every “thank you” is a chocolate chip in the cookie of life.


Your Body Language Gives Away Intent

May 23, 2015

Business handshakeBrandon was a 22 year old I happened to meet at a Speed Networking event at my local Chamber of Commerce. His ability to connect with me instantly was impressive.

Without saying a word, and even before we shook hands, he let me know that he was truly anxious to meet me. It was so powerful that when we did shake hands a second or two later, rather than say “It’s nice to meet you,” I said, “Congratulations, you are going to be a very wealthy man.”

The gift that young man had was an amazing control of the body language he exhibited when we first met. He made great eye contact and showed by his facial expression that he truly wanted to get to know me. It was the kind of expression you see on the face of that one puppy in the pen at the pet shop that just captures your heart instantly.

Our body language gives away what is going on in the back of our mind. It is extremely difficult to hide our pattern of thoughts. It just comes out of every part of our body naturally.

I have been studying body language for about 40 years, and there is still a lot to learn. The topic is extremely engaging and insightful. The language we use to communicate with others using facial and body expression is far more complex and intricate than any verbal language is.

We know many of the signals intuitively, but we also miss many important signals that are there but hidden to us.

This article is not intended to be an exhaustive treatise on the complexities of body language. Rather it is to recognize the amazing power of being able to read signals and a warning not to rely on body language signals too much.

The truth is that understanding body language correctly requires more than just knowing the particular body positions and their meaning. You can never be certain if a particular kind of body language is a true signal, just a random event, or a misleading gesture.

The way to increase the odds of interpreting body language correctly is to study what the different signals mean, then apply the following areas to your interpretation. The five C’s will help you interpret body language correctly.

1. Context –

You must consider what is going on around the signal, what happened just before, where the person is located, what else is going on, etc. For example, if I am talking with you and I scratch my nose, it probably means I have an itch on my nose.

But, if I am on the witness stand and have not touched my nose for an hour, it is a different context. When the prosecutor asks me about the bloody knife, and my finger goes to the side of my nose as I answer the question, that is a strong indication that I am lying or at least exaggerating.

2. Clusters

Since there are many body language signals going on with each person at any given time, you should not ascribe heavy meaning to any single one. Instead, look for patterns or clusters.

I can witness you rubbing your palms, rapid blinking, hair on arms standing out, foot movement, heavy swallowing, and shifting of weight. I might also notice more perspiration than normal. With a cluster of signals like these, I can be certain you are experiencing anxiety.

3. Congruence

If your words, your tone of voice, and your body language are telling me the same thing, chances are I am getting a true signal. When you are saying one thing, but your body language shows a different pattern, I need to be alert that you may be trying to deceive me in some way.

I need to be vigilant and test more for congruence. If there are several indications of incongruence, it could signal that you are not telling me the full truth.

4. Consistency

Look for patterns in people’s behavior. If a student in one of my classes habitually likes to sit with her arms folded because that is a comfortable position for her, then that is a baseline. I should not think it is a signal when she folds her arms.

For another person who rarely folds his arms, if I notice he does so immediately after making a statement about his boss, I might suspect he is being defensive and look for other signals to corroborate the suspicion.

5. Culture

People tend to forget that cultural differences in body language are huge. For example, if you are an Eskimo, moving your head up and down means “no,” while shaking your head from side to side means “yes.”

An obvious difference in culture is the issue of proximity. When talking with a person from a middle eastern culture, expect the gap between you and the other person to be significantly less than when addressing a person from a western culture.

Correct interpretation of body language needs to factor in these five areas. Taking these things into account allows us to be more accurate when we read meaning to body language.

Become a student of body language yourself. You will find it is a vital skill, and the more you develop it the more you will improve both your ability to understand the intentions of others but also send more consistent signals yourself.


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