trust

How can I get them to trust me?

Trust is essential to collaborative work and makes all kinds of stakeholder engagement more fruitful.  Clients often have 'increased trust' as an engagement objective.  But how do you get someone to trust you?

Should they?

My first response is to challenge back: should people trust you?  Are you entering this collaboration or engagement process in good faith?  Do you have some motives or aims which are hidden or being spun?  Do some people in your team see consultation and participation as just more sophisticated ways of persuading people to agree with what you've already made up your mind about?  Or are you genuinely open to changing things as a result of hearing others' views?  Is the team clear about what's up for grabs?

It's an ethical no-brainer: don't ask people to trust you if they shouldn't!

Earn trust

Assuming you do, hand on heart, deserve trust, then the best way to get people to trust you is to be trustworthy.

Do what you say you're going to do. Don't commit to things that you can't deliver.

Don't bad-mouth others - hearing you talk about someone one way in public and another in a more private setting will make people wonder what you say about them when they're not around.

Trust them

The other side of the coin is to be trusting.  Show your vulnerability.  Share information instead of keeping it close.  Be open about your needs and constraints, the pressures on you and the things that you find hard.  If you need to give bad news, do so clearly and with empathy.

Give it time

Long-term relationships require investment of time and effort.  Building trust (or losing it) happens over time, as people see how you react and behave in different situations.

Be worthy of people's trust, and trust them.