When we are speaking, presenting or training, we need to be influential and persuasive. Our ability to influence people is key to our success in getting new ideas, information and messages across. And a key to influence is building trust. People listen and learn from people they trust. If we don’t have trust, then we will struggle to get people to follow our ideas or accept our message, especially if it is a new message or a message of change. A key way to establish trust is to be consistent in what we do and say. Consistency helps build trust while inconsistency can lead to distrust or a loss of trust.
If we are a taking a friend to a restaurant, then we are going to go to that restaurant that consistently delivers great food and great service. When I book Air BnB accommodation overseas, I look at the star ratings and only book a room with consistently great comments and a great 5-star rating.
As leaders, educators, speakers and trainers we need to be consistent in our message and consistent in our actions and behaviours. If we are inconsistent then people may start to distrust us and our messages and our ability to be influential will be diminished. Inconsistency can lead to suspicion, doubt and distrust.
Simple ways that we can build trust through consistency are:
- Do what you say you’re going to do. This means if you promised to follow up on an issue or you promised to get back to them with an answer to a tricky question that you do it. If you promised to send your PowerPoint slides or eBook that you do it.
- Walk the talk. In terms of asking people to change behaviour or to adopt new practises then it’s important that you are aligned with those very practises. We say walk the talk. If you are walking the talk, then the way you behave, act in business and go about your life echoes the very message that you’re saying. Walking the talk helps demonstrate consistency and trust.
- Be true to yourself. Authenticity is being the real you. This helps to build consistency. When you are authentic, and your values and your beliefs are aligned, and this is carried out in both your words and your actions. Authentic and genuine people build trust and naturally are more influential. Audiences can pick a fake a mile off.
- Be congruent with your nonverbal communication. If you are inconsistent with you nonverbals and your words and your body language are not congregant or consistent people may not trust you. Where nonverbals and words are mismatched (I am verry happy to be here said with a frown and sad face) the nonverbal message will override the verbal message. So once again consistency is The Secret.
In summary, if you want to be more influential and persuasive and if you want people to follow your ideas and messages, make sure that you are consistent in your message, in the way you go about your work and your life. Inconsistency breeds distrust and can lead to doubt and suspicion. Consistency will build trust and influence.