Exploring cultures, countries and
Trust or Bust
At the recent Economic Forum in China, world leaders announced that our biggest crisis is not financial, but rather a lack of trust and confidence. Globalization has created new
markets, along with suspicions and
misunderstandings. We now can reach
across borders, but will people on the
other side trust us?
A lack of trust costs time, money
and loyalty. It is your biggest expense.
The good news is that you can build
trust by following these guidelines.
Contribution. Results build trust. For
a bureau, spin-offs and happy client
are desired outcomes. For a VP
of sales, audience attendees who
implement ideas after the conference lead to more sales and are the
result of a contributor who speaks.
American speaker was no longer
invited to dine after events because
she was self-centered and rude.
• Consistency. People trust McDonald’s
because it delivers the same burger
in Cleveland as in Tokyo. Bureaus
and meeting planners want a
speaker who delivers a high-quality
presentation every time.
Commitment. Martin Luther King,
Jr.’s followers trusted him because
they saw commitment and sacrifice
for the greater good. Commitment
reveals and builds trust.
• Clarity. People trust the clear, and
distrust the ambiguous. Be clear
about your purpose and results.
What exactly do you speak on?
What are the expected outcomes?
Competency. Staying fresh, relevant
and capable builds trust. Do you
take time to get to know your audience and its culture? One wrong
move or word from the platform
can destroy your trust in many
countries; for example: Don’t
speak with your hand in your
pocket in Latvia. Bow until the
eldest stops in Japan. Speak softly
in France, especially in small groups
or at a restaurant.
Trust does not start with the
economy or government. It starts
with individuals becoming trusted.
Those who are most trusted enjoy the
greatest impact, and usually the biggest
bottomline, in spite of any borders. If
you want to go beyond borders, your
No. 1 priority should be building trust.
• Compassion. Think beyond yourself. Most speakers act like prima
donnas at some point, but a speaker
who shows compassion on and off
the platform is memorable, unique
and gets booked.
• Character. Do you pay taxes on
back-of-the-room sales, refer all
spin-offs, and act the same in spite
of the circumstances? Your charac-
ter will kill you or propel you over
the long term.
Connection. Relationships are built
by finding common ground.
Reaching across a variety of
audiences and cultures takes
effort, but it is worth it. Observe,
ask questions and listen. Other
cultures will sit and listen to an
American ramble out of honor and
respect. Later, they will compare
notes on the obnoxious and
arrogant American. In Japan, an
David Horsager, MA, CSP, is a business leader, strategist and professor who has researched and spoken on the bottom-line impact of trust across four
continents. His new book is titled The Trust
Edge: What Top Leaders Have & 8 Pillars
to Build It. For more information, visit
www.TheTrustEdge.com or email dave@