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15 Trust Building Communication Practices

Breaking Through the Noise with Elevated Communication

One thing is clear - communication has changed. Some leaders remain wishing and hoping for the way things were, with top down approaches and controlled messaging. But, it doesn't matter what you think of anonymous blog comments, social media avenues, texting, tweeting, or video posting; technology that provides instant access to alternative points of view and influence is here to stay. Unfortunately, more ways doesn't mean more results.

With all the methods to communication, you'd think we'd be better at doing it. Yet, the reality is we're not, at least we're not at work. Consider these Edelman Trust Barometer snippets:

  • "Official company-issued communications are distrusted by workers of all levels."
  • "Only 18 percent of the general population trust business leaders to tell the truth regardless of how complex or unpopular the truth is."

Effective communication practices that include timely and ongoing methods are foundational elements for any trust-building. However, it's not enough.

In an era of distrust, communication that builds trust is elevated communication. These practices lift understanding, create aligned purpose, improve relationships, and enable healthy and productive differences. Here are 15 elevated communication practices that increase trust-building:

  1. Know what matters to the people you lead
  2. Have dialogues without personal agendas or assumed answers
  3. Express heartfelt, specific gratitude
  4. Stay well-intentioned and other-focused
  5. Be forthcoming about your objectives, purpose, or goal
  6. Align your actions with your words
  7. Operate with thoughtful transparency
  8. Stay grounded in best-of-self behaviors
  9. Paint word-pictures to make something seeable, doable, and purposeful
  10. Be about the right action, not the action that's right for you
  11. Speak about what you're for, not against
  12. Be open to all methods of communication
  13. Offer feedback as opinion, not fact
  14. Listen to learn
  15. Be the message, not the messenger, for respect, integrity, and compassion

Those who build trust currency in the new workplace understand that communication is not about communications, i.e. with an "s" and relates to the methods by which information is shared. Rather, communication that builds trust is elevated. It brings honesty, integrity, authenticity, and caring into the conversation.

You'll find more trust building approaches in Trust, Inc.: How to Create a Business Culture That Will Ignite Passion, Engagement, and Innovation (Career Press, 2013)