Thu, 12 April 2018
Whenever someone tries to influence us, in our minds we ask ourselves, “Can I trust this person? Do I believe him? Is she really concerned about me?” We are less likely to be influenced if we sense that the person trying to persuade us is driven solely by self-interest. Trust is the glue that holds the entire persuasion process together.
Trust is created when you put your audience’s interests and wants before your own. Many times trust comes when your audience feels you are predictable. For some people, trust is a leap of faith; they simply want and need to believe in the persuader’s intentions. Research shows that, deep down, people want to trust others.
If you can’t assume that your audience automatically trusts you, then your next focus should be on how to acquire this sense of trust as early on in the persuasion process as possible. To do this, it’s helpful to understand how trust works. Most people can’t explain why they trust certain people more or less than others.
Usually there is not a lot of rational thought behind it; more often, it is an instinct or feeling about the particular person. Your audience will feel you out, trying to discern whether or not they can trust you and how much. Remember it is a sliding scale. This means that you want to be perceived as trustworthy right away, before your audience members even know you (because, fair or not, they’re already making judgment calls about you at this point).
Then, you can demonstrate that this trustworthiness is genuine through your correspondence and interactions. Gaining and keeping trust for both the short term and the long term is vital to your success as a persuader.