Communication 101: Building Trust

by | Sep 15, 2017 | training

Ellen Patnaude, Patnaude Coaching

You ever met someone and had a feeling about them that you just couldn’t quite put your finger on? It wasn’t necessarily something overt that they did that caused you to put your guard up when dealing with them, but… still, there was “something”…

We build trust with one another (or don’t) in many small ways that we don’t often stop and think about. Foundational to both effective leadership and effective team culture is trust. As we discussed in our last blog post, intentionality in action is critical, and in our opinion, there is no more important area for this than in building trust.

One of the ways to be intentional about building trust is to really look at things from the other person’s perspective (read more about that here).  Another is to make sure you model the kind of behavior you expect from those around you. A third is to engage in more active listening—the kind where you stop what you’re doing, put down your cell phone, and give the person who needs your attention just that—your full attention.

Something quite helpful in figuring out ways to improve how you build trust and rapport is to understand your own hard-wiring. Are you the type of person who likes their own ideas best? Being aware of that fact and how it might cause you to come across to others can make the difference between engaging someone in a discussion, and unintentionally shutting them down.

Do you talk things out to think them through, or do you need a minute (or several) to think over a problem or scenario before you feel prepared to discuss it? Are you content to give others time to process new ideas, or do you prefer to have an immediate response? Without an awareness of how you crystallize thoughts, you risk giving the impression that you just don’t care, or that you’re running off at the mouth without really thinking it through.

To put this into practice and make it an actual useful tool for you, we recommend considering the strategy we proposed last week—good old-fashioned sit-down-and-think work. Here’s a little chart to capture what we suggest, as a starting point:


Who is the individual you want to start with? Write their name down. Consider the interactions you’ve had with them, and think about the positive things. Then move onto the more challenging aspects of the relationship. Once you’ve done those two steps, it may be pretty clear to you what you need to do differently. For this week, start with how you could improve the level of trust between you. The more specific you can be with your assessment and your intentions, the greater chance you have at implementing different behavior.

Happy assessing! Let us know how it goes, and how we can help!

Ellen Patnaude

Ellen Patnaude

Ellen E. Patnaude has been coaching, training, and developing people to achieve higher levels of success in a professional capacity since 1997.

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