#BlogElul 11 – Trust

BlogElul graphic Today’s word is Trust. Trust is another one of those multifaceted words – so many different meanings. In past years, I’ve mused on repairing broken trust, and whether the Universe is a friendly place.

It’s a business truism that people buy from those they “know, like and trust”. What does that mean? I understand know and like – everybody gets to know people, especially if they go to networking meetings, and some of them they like and some they don’t. But where does trust come from in this context?

I think a large part comes from referrals, from asking around and learning other people’s experience. Apps such as Yelp and other review sites give us other people’s opinions, and while we don’t have any reason to trust any one user, in aggregate, if a restaurant or a product gets a lot of bad reviews, we won’t buy it – and if it gets a lot of good ones, we’ll be more inclined to give it a try. So there’s the collective here – if a lot of other people trust this person or product, we will, too, at least provisionally.

There’s also personal experience – if we meet a person repeatedly, talk with them and like them, we might be more inclined to use their professional services if we find ourselves in need. If you want to buy a house, you are more likely to go with a realtor you know than with one you don’t, even if the stranger seems better qualified, on the surface.

All of this rationality doesn’t really explain how we make that split-second decision to trust someone, or why people might trust us. I’m reminded of Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink, in which he explores the complex way in which we make those rapid decisions. It’s a fascinating subject, and I don’t think the last word has been said on it, by any means.

What do you think? How do you develop trust? Why do people trust you? I’d love to know your thoughts on the matter.

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