"Trust in me," sang Kaa the snake from Jungle Book, while of course being splendidly untrustworthy. And from the hills of the Himalayas to the deserts of Timbuktu (and I’m not talking Crème Caramel) to the sky scrapers of New York – when a sales person meets a customer for the first time the phrase, “Trust in me” is part of the equation.
Trust is an important part of any transaction. Think about the last time you tried to get an upgrade on a flight or pleaded with a traffic warden to let you off a parking fine. Part of your “act” in getting what you wanted, involved showing them you could be trusted; that your story was true, “Sorry I parked on the double yellow, I was just picking up some drugs for my sick/dying relative from that chemist… Yes I know it looks like a pub but you’d be amazed what you can buy here….”
You can have the best delivery, content and slides on the planet but if you don’t trust the speaker they count for nothing. Politicians know this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTDNbEtdaWw and so spend hours of time and oodles of money trying to rectify this problem.
So what makes one person more trustworthy than another? According to David Maister, author of “The Trust Advisor,” these are in order of importance: helpfulness, credibility, intimacy and reliability.
Helpfulness or lack of self orientation comes top. In presenter terms, the audience comes first. In my experience 99% of presentations could be improved in this area – the “What’s In It For Me” bit.
Credibility. Stuff like social proof. Intimacy. How much do we know about you and your organisation? Is it all hanging out in the open? (obviously you can sometimes go too far with this).
Reliability. You do what you saying going to do.
If you’re not sure, imagine someone as the opposite, and then see how remarkably untrustworthy they’ve become.
So next time you present, make sure you do these three things: turn up on time, be open and promise only what you can deliver, and more than anything else, focus your attention on helping your audience.