We are frequently asked “how do you get people to trust you personally”? “By showing the real you” is our stock answer. In personal friendships, we’re happy to do this but when it gets to business, many keep their barriers up – not wanting to reveal their more vulnerable side.
So in our Storytelling workshops we run a session on exactly this. As the workshop progresses, we find the group is ready to share their vulnerable stories – even those who have been reluctant until this point to lower their guard. We begin by telling one of our own stories of when we have felt vulnerable.
One of Sally’s concerns was her path through breast cancer treatment which included chemo, surgery and radiotherapy. She continued working and no-one knew she was ill. And that was important to her – she didn’t want anyone to feel sorry for her or to treat her differently. However once all the treatment had been completed Barry suggested that they told their clients. So this time last year Sally told everyone. She’s still glad no-one knew at the time, but she was touched by the messages once it was all over.
To give you an idea of the stories we’re told – in one recent workshop we heard stories about – a mother dying, a child in intensive care, a long term illness hidden from colleagues, a ‘wake up’ to reality life changing moment and many more.
Now we’re not suggesting that you will actually tell such a personal story to a client or colleague on a frequent basis, but what we find is after this particular exercise the delegates better understand that they need to find a closer personal connection. Because it’s only through this that they will build the kind of trust that results in strong business relationships.
“The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.” Ernest Hemingway