How do you define ‘trust’?
How can you be sure that what you see is what you get?

I have an opinion that ‘trust’ is the bedrock of good networking.
If you don’t have trust, well, just what do you have?

Everybody seems to think that networking is just about meeting as many people as you can, getting rid of as many business cards as you can (collecting them too for your personal follow-up email), and meeting loads and loads of NEW people. Again, I don’t agree.

I hear people walk into a networking meeting and say quietly “Oh no, I’ve already met most of these people”, and I think to myself: you’ve come here to sell, not to network.

I love it when I meet up with people at a networking event that I’ve already met.
Because it gives me the opportunity to get to know them better.
Sitting next to someone that I kind of already know, and have swapped business cards with, is a chance to take our relationship another step forward. A chance to get to know them better, to understand their business and service offering. What can I learn that may allow me to help them? To refer business to them?

The point is, I have already met them, and may well have started to hear things about them.
My original opinion (first meeting) will now be re-inforced, or NOT. I will be hearing more about what they and their business is up to, I may even be hearing stories from them (more of that in another article on ‘Telling Stories’).

Unless you give me a powerful signal to the contrary, I TRUST people as a starting point. You have my trust unless, of course, you somehow lose it. These secondary and follow-up meetings however, allow both parties to take that trust to another, deeper level. If I am going to refer business to you, I must trust you will do what you say you’ll do, I must be sure. I’m putting my name to it. In referring you, I’m telling my personal contacts, people who trust me, “Hey, you can trust this guy, he does what he says he does, and he does it well, he’s OK”.

This level of Trust is something that can often take time to be earnt, and that’s why it’s so important you build on your existing relationships, get to know your contacts at a deeper level and let them get to know you. 

TRUST, is my number one rule, of GREAT NETWORKING TIPS.
There’s only three, come back to find out what the other two are.

4 Responses to “Trust”

  1. Linda Parkinson-Hardman Says:

    Your presentation at BusinessXchange last week was one of the most powerful I’ve listened to Richard. It was simple because it contained just three messages about how to make networking more effective and, dare I say it, enjoyable. I was watching a number of the people in the room and they were all nodding and agreeing with you. But, as you say, the most powerful of those three messages was trust – when trust is developed in relationship (any sort of relationship) it takes that relationship to another level, but it has to be a two way process, both parties have to trust each other. When trust is not forthcoming from one party then it is hard to build any sort of a relationship because one person (or business) is constantly having to prove themselves. I agree with you wholeheartedly about trust, but I have it from the start for everyone (until they demonstrate otherwise). I don’t expect someone to prove themselves first, I just assume that everyone is trustworthy and I never put it to the test because that would mean I didn’t trust them in the first place. Quite often those that are untrustworthy will show their true colours at some point, however what I wouldn’t do is confuse a mistake with being untrustworthy. Of course, one would never want to refer someone they thought couldn’t deliver but would that be enough of a reason to hold off trusting them first?

  2. Thank you Linda, I really appreciate that.
    I think my article may be misleading. That’s the trouble with certain aspects of communication, they are open to interpretation…..

    I too take people on face value… I give trust until proven otherwise. It’s just that:

    1: Some people don’t make it easy to gain trust. Selling to me instead of having a conversation (a common networking error) doesn’t lead to a nice warm feeling, and ‘trust’ is in there somewhere.

    2: Mutuality is of course important. In fact, I take that as a given. This is all about deep and meaningful relationships, they’re the most powerful, and of course, both parties feelings need to be pretty mutual.

    Love your comments though…. keep em coming!!

  3. Great words you guys.

    I have just read this having written about the initial judgement, or would the word ‘assessment’ be more appropriate? when we first meet someone.

    We can get it wrong, especially if we are feeling less than we would like to. This is why, Linda’s words are so important, because if our model of the world is that people are inherently bad, we can never trust and every new meeting will be seen and filtered through that defensive viewpoint, resulting in seeing, sensing and feeling things that are not there!

    Can you imagine how you behaviour would change when you first meet a new person if you felt like that? (mmmm.. perhaps an idea for a game at a meeting??)

    Compare this to the opposite scenario, your model of the world is that ALL people are inherently good. How would that belief system change the way you greet and chat to someone? We would greet people like a long lost friend wouldn’t we? So trust, I believe starts within us first and is then projected outwards, rather than the responsibility of the person we meet. Then, the second point, made by Linda, about people making mistakes, is crucial if we are to maintain our ‘model of the world’. This can only be achieved accepting any given situation and not judging it as good or bad. It simply just is. A dog will always come wagging its tail no matter what happens around him. When Ducks fall out over territorial waters, they quack about it for a few seconds and then its forgotten and they waddle away unaffected. How would it feel if we could do that more often? In the words of that great song, “what a wonderful world this could be”!

  4. Thanks Paul….
    I love all this stuff, and value your input.

    Do you realise that there’s been a little ‘Paul’ sat on my shoulder these past few days? Whispering in my ear, and empowering me to look at things from a different perspective.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: