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Trust is an Asset December 14, 2009

Posted by Carlos Lievano in Trust Agents, [Books] Leadership & Change.
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After reading Chris Brogan’s and Julien Smith’s book Trust Agents, I found that the subtitle of the book is a very accurate portrayal of its content: Using the web to build influence, improve reputation, and earn trust (the bolded emphasis is really included in the printed subtitle). Although there is some focus on practitioners that attempt to achieve these three objectives for their businesses and organizations, at its core trust is gained by concrete individuals and many of the examples in the book are people who were able to carry along their gained trust between companies.  As a result, many of the actionable ideas on the book are useful whether you are managing the influence, reputation and trust of an organization, or if you are doing so for yourself.

In my opinion, the second is as important as doing so with a business objective. The main reason is that as I observed, trust is something that is linked to the individual. Therefore, building it before you have a business objective won’t hurt. It is easier because you do so by being yourself, and once you gain it, that trust becomes an asset that you can carry around to all your business or personal activities. In consequence, I found it advisable to start doing it soon, if you haven’t started already.

The first step: start listening. In design thinking terms, start observing or exploring. Join the online social media and pay attention to what others are doing, while thinking on ways that you can use them to fulfill your interests and needs (which in many cases could be similar to those of your audience – the people who might have an interest in you).

Once you have a clear understanding of the tools and possibilities, start using it yourself.  Be reasonable on your use. Imagine social media is a cocktail party and don’t do or say things you wouldn’t in person. The same common sense that applies to face-to-face social interaction, should apply to the online world. This might be the only reason why you wouldn’t start earning trust online: if you lack a real-world common sense, start working on that first!