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14 Behaviors That Foster Trust

14 Behaviors That Foster Trust

Kathryn Williams | DivineCaroline

8. Competence. In the workplace, nothing inspires trust more than getting the job done right.

9. Engagement. Trust is based on an understood reciprocity. If someone does not even appear to invest in you, he likely doesn’t have much to lose in betraying you.

10. Face time. Part of engaging is an effort to make “face time.” A recent study showed that people in the workplace are more likely to trust team members with whom they interact in person more than those they work with via email or videoconference.

11. Facial hair. Another recent study in the Journal of Marketing Communications found that consumers trust pitchmen with beards more than those without. There are limits, however, to the beard-trustworthiness theory. Graphic designer Matt McInerney was only halfway kidding when he made a graphic spectrum of “The Trustworthiness of Beards.”

12. Eye contact (but not too much). This is perhaps the biggest behavioral indicator of trustworthiness. But the quality of the eye contact, observes psychologist Elaine Ducharme, also matters. Is it steely or warm? Too much eye contact can be unnerving.

13. Handshake (not too firm, not too soft). Any businessperson can tell you the importance of a firm handshake in building confidence. However, like eye contact, there is a middle ground. Too firm suggests aggression; too soft suggests passivity.

14. Posture. No one trusts a slouch. A straight back projects an image of strength and confidence.

Of course, while these behaviors and visual cues might inspire trust, they don’t guarantee trustworthiness. As Ducharme wryly reminds, many psychopaths maintain excellent eye contact.

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