Developing trust starts with the transmission of feelings. This is so basic that it seems too simple to be true. The transmission of feelings can be done non-verbally when you know exactly what is involved. When you learn how to transmit your feelings to a person or an animal, it opens the way to establish trust and cooperative action.
If you don’t understand the importance of feelings, you will end up with the following time-tested rules for establishing trust. They all contribute to the development of trust, but if you know how to control and transmit your feelings to others, these rules are unnecessary.
1. Communicate with transparency. Have no hidden agenda.
2. Behave consistently. Emotional ups and downs cause people to doubt you.
3. Show sincere interest in others’ aspirations and goals. Ask questions and listen.
4. Take responsibility. No excuses, no justifications. If you mess up, fess up.
5. Communicate respectfully at all times. No yelling, no gossiping, no belittling comments, no embarrassing others.
6. Clarify, emotionally and mentally, how you expect to be treated. We teach others how to treat us by the way we treat ourselves.
7. Under-promise and over-deliver. Do what you say you will do, and keep your word; if the unexpected arises, renegotiate.
8. Tell the truth, quickly, with compassion. Say what you mean and mean what you say.
9. Focus on intentionally seeing the best in the other person. People want to be around others who make them feel good about themselves.
10. Ask for and receive feedback. Ask sincerely and openly, and respond respectfully.
What feelings you transmit make all the difference in the world. There is an entire range of emotions and feelings ranging from exhilaration and enthusiasm down to shame, blame, and regret. About 56 different levels of emotions have been identified, but the emotion you need to manifest in order to develop trust with people or animals is contented mild interest or what is more easily recognized as calm serenity when you have achieved peace of mind. This is a state when you are in the present moment and are not thinking about the future or remembering the past.
You can put yourself in the present moment and achieve a meditative state using any form of meditation that works best for you. Meditation is a type of mind-body medicine, has been practiced for thousands of years. During meditation, you develop intentional focus — minimizing random thoughts about the past or future. Many forms of meditation exist, but most have in common a quiet setting, a comfortable position, focused attention, and an open attitude.
The meditative state is often called mindfulness, and it is a skill that can be developed through practice. When one is in this state, one is able to project feelings to another person or animal and bring them to a similar state without the use of words. It is actually easier to bring an animal to a calm, relaxed state than it is to bring a human to the same state. With an animal, you simply do not react to whatever aggressive or passive action it takes and continue to observe the animal with calm serenity.
With a human being, you observe and listen and acknowledge, speaking only in reassuring tones until the person calms down from their upset or fear and achieves a state of calm where you can begin to help them.
Only when you and the person or animal you are working with are both calm and are living in the present moment can you start to develop trust through cooperative action.
In Part Three of this series, we will go into further detail on the additional factors necessary to develop trust with others.