No matter what side of the service provider/client relationship you're on, cultivating trust is an essential part of keeping workflows tidy and partnerships healthy. Here are 3 tips that may bring success to you and your workforce in the years to come.
Building Trust with Clients: Honor Commitments, Ask For Help, and Listen Well
- Honor Your Commitments
This is perhaps the biggest, yet seemingly simple, piece of advice on this list. Most of us want to lend a hand with everything we can. Over-commitment to a laundry list of tasks soon follows and, inevitably, despite best efforts, we miss important deadlines or lose some assignments along the way. This can lead to severe decreases in trust in working relationships, as it is impossible to know which promised task will be the one that slips though the cracks. To combat this, be sure not to spread yourself too thin. Set realistic expectations for your work capacity and if you say you're going to do something, make sure it gets done by setting firm deadlines and multiple reminders.
2. Lead With Your "Why"
When offering your thoughts, asking for help, or even creating a proposal, be sure to explain the reasoning behind each choice you make. People are generally more motivated to perform tasks that have a solid basis in reasoning that resonates with them. For example, telling a client to send you something in an email with no follow-through as to why you need it may lead to less-than-timely out comes. Instead, saying "I need (this item/task) from you so I can give you (that item/task) as soon as possible" or offering other justifications for needs let the client know that performing this action is for their benefit. Asserting your "why" leads to less resistance as well as possibly improving task instruction retention.
3. Listen to Hear, Not to Speak
Sometimes, when we listen to a client speak, we are already thinking of how we'd like to reply while they are still making their point. This can lead to interruptions, missed information, and a combative communication environment. After all, if your client thinks they must always speak over you or defend their ideas from you, they're going to be hesitant to collaborate. Instead, try letting them finish their ideas without interruption and taking notes while they speak of points you'd like to go back to. That way, you will have complete information before speaking, and your clients will feel heard and respected.
These tips can lead to increased workplace harmony and success if employed properly. Next time you're struggling to connect person-to-person, try some of these trust building techniques.
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