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3 keys to developing trust in a working relationship

Whether you're working in a team, leading a team or working with a client, an important factor in being effective is the element of trust.

Trust is not instantaneous no matter what your role may be in an organisation. It is essential that you earn the trust so that the working relationship can be built. As a consultant, it's important for me to build that trust with my clients so that I can help them achieve their communication goals.

My three keys to developing trust in a working relationship can be effective whether you work as part of a team, lead a team or if you're like me, develop a 'team' approach to working with your clients.

Case study

I recently worked on a project developing communication modules for a team so that:

  • They could expand their skills
  • New staff could be trained effectively as part of their induction into the organisation

This is how I used my 3 keys to make this a worthwhile experience for all concerned.

Key #1 – Clear and open communication

While working on the project it was important that I communicated my purpose and how it would benefit both the individuals and the team as a whole. I made sure that I was approachable to answer any questions and respected the time and availability of the team members.

My approach was simple: the team members were the experts; my role was to capture their knowledge and put it in a format so that everyone could benefit.

We know that communication is important but have you ever been surprised by the responses that you've received when communicating your goals and vision?

If the response is not what you expected then you may need to consider these questions:

  • Have I expressed myself in a manner that relates to the listener's preferred communication style?
  • Has my team or client indicated their understanding of my plan and how they will benefit from it?
  • Have I been clear about each step of the process?

Key #2 – Listen

'You actually listened' – That was the response that I received from one of the team members. What a compliment! It meant that I was meeting their needs.

It's often tempting to do all the talking about your goals, plans and vision. There is a time and place for this to happen. Your enthusiasm is admirable but are you overwhelming the listener?

Work on being the listener. Listen to the team members' or client's concerns.

  • How can you resolve these issues for them?
  • Do they feel valued?
  • Are you considering your team members' ideas as part of the overall plan?
  • Are you listening to your client's needs?
  • How can you use this knowledge to assist them?

Key #3 – Act

As I worked on each module I ensured that I had included the team members' comments and suggestions. At the completion of each one, I asked for their feedback.

In turn, they took ownership of the modules and saw the value of using them to assist them in their roles.

Listening and communicating are important. However if you don't act upon the information and concerns then you won't be seen as a person who is proactive in achieving results. Ask for your team members' and client's input and feedback.

Benefits of working in this way

By using the 3 keys:

  • Team members willingly shared useful information.
  • New team members were quickly able to up-skill.
  • Existing team members were able to increase their own skills.

How have you gained commitment and trust in your working relationships?


Maria Pantalone

Maria Pantalone works with individuals and teams to make communication their strength so that their message is heard. Her programs help her clients to excel in their role and be recognised as leaders in their field.
30 Business Communication Tips

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Then download my free ebook, 30 Business Communication Tips.

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