Credibility and Trust

During his life, Aristotle wrote his Rhetoric, better known today as The Art of Persuasion. The premise was simple: your message has to make sense and touch the heart, and you personally have to be trustworthy. Only then can you build positive, two way relationships.

Aristotle said evidence for claims comes in three forms: Logos, Pathos and Ethos.

  • Logos – logical or rational appeal. The claim has to make sense.
  • Pathos – emotional appeal. The claim has to touch the heart of the audience. We have to feel moved.
  • Ethos – ethical appeal. Any promise needs to be grounded in credibility. This refers to the trustworthiness of the person making the claim.

Each time you forge a new relationship, personally or professionally, you’re opening yourself up to some sort of influence. We give and receive messages in all of our relationships, and with these messages we are persuaded and influenced. We are often cautious of forging new relationships, particularly professional or commercial relationships, because we consciously or subconsciously fear the influence our new business colleague or collaborator may have on our current reality.

If we have a relationship where the credibility of the other person is in question, the fear of a negative impact on our existing reality increases exponentially. You would all have been in a situation where a message made sense and touched your heart, but was delivered by someone you didn’t trust. No doubt you’ve seen good ideas disregarded simply because the person delivering that idea was not respected, trusted or valued. Safeguard your credibility. It takes years to build and only seconds to lose. Maintain it every day.

Trustworthiness is one of the most important aspects of maintaining credibility in both our personal and professional relationships. What are the most important factors to look for when deciding to trust a person or company?

In your professional relationships, you’ll find the people who you deem credible and trustworthy are those who really know their stuff. You never catch them out in lies. They’re experts in their field. They know the answers to your questions and if they don’t, they know where to find the answers.

Credible professionals also communicate in a respectful manner and welcome differing opinions as an opportunity to learn more about your needs as a customer and how to meet your needs. They are truly there to help find solutions for you.

Those you trust always deliver on what’s promised. They make sure they’re working hard to fulfil what they’ve said they can do for you and they meet or exceed your expectations repeatedly. They never overpromise and underdeliver.

They also never exaggerate or embellish. They set realistic expectations and then continually deliver on those expectations.

Once lost, credibility is extremely difficult to rebuild which makes trust such an important part of every relationship. So in your personal and professional relationships make sure you’re trustworthy and reliable and ensure you only partner with others who offer the same in return.