The Most Important Part of Communication
Or: Building Trust
Trust is the most important part of any communication. Without trust, there is no way to communicate. Because of that, you need to find ways to build trust with your audience.
Why is it important for your audience to trust you? Have ever had a friend that always asks for a couple bucks every few weeks and rarely pays you back? After a while, no matter how much they promise they will pay you back, you won’t really believe them. If you can’t trust the people that you’re talking to, then nothing of significance can come from the conversation.
There are many ways to build trust with audiences. The most important part of building trust is consistency. As people see your brand acting in a consistent way, they will begin to trust that you will stay the same. From that initial trust, you can begin trying to expand that trust to include your work.
Usually when people first encounter your organization, you will have people who are excited to see what you do, and those who are naturally skeptical. You will need to be able to interact effectively with both kinds of people.
Enthusiastic people have to be given an easy way to positively interact with your brand. Give them an easy way to volunteer, buy, donate, or follow you. These kinds of brand interactions are rare, but valuable.
You don’t need to do much to build trust with people who are already enthusiastic.
Skeptical people are more frequently what you will encounter. They will need a lot more convincing before they are willing to engage with your organization.
In order to build trust, you must first be able to answer the most common questions and challenges that skeptics will present to you. These can be given as examples while describing what you do, or they can be presented as an FAQ on your website. You can even write a series of blog posts detailing how your organization works and stories of overcoming the common objections. (You’re reading an example.)
A common way of building trust is the use of endorsements or testimonials. There is a reason why every physical book that is printed still has quotes from other authors or individuals in a similar field. The words of someone else recommending a book help skeptical people get one step closer to interacting with the brand, in this case, to buy the book.
Your organization can use testimonials to tell your story at the same time as you encourage people to interact with your organization.
Presenting skeptics with other examples of how others were guided from having problems, to having resolved their problems. Through seeing how others can have their problems resolved, you can then make the case that their problems can also be resolved.
As you show them more ways in which either they can solve their own problems, or you can solve their problems for them, they will begin to trust you more.
The branding efforts that I have been doing with Matthewdyck.ca and the Strategy Made Simple podcast, I have been actively using both the problem solving and example strategies for building trust. Through the podcast and blog I establish that I can produce content with a regular release schedule, and I give practical examples that can be taken and used by other organizations.
Feel free to take the example that I have presented and use it in a way that is beneficial to your organization. For more tips on how to strategize or improve your organizational communication, please subscribe to the newsletter below.
Now, go and find a way to build trust, but keep it simple.