January 30

Authenticity and Trust


Julie discusses the secrets to authenticity and trust in virtual meetings with Rachel Cossar, founder of Virtual Sapiens.

Rachel Cossar:
Going a little further on that note of showing up with authenticity and really being able to build a rapport on video, some companies really just think that it's impossible to build trust in the same way you can build in-person on video. What is your response to that?

Julie Hansen:
Well, it is if we don't do some things differently, I'll tell you that! And certainly, research shows that it's harder to build relationships virtually. And one of the reasons why is because there are certain qualities that need to be in place for someone to want to enter into a trusted relationship with you.

Whether it's personal or business, you have to be credible. You have to have some level of confidence. You have to be authentic and empathetic and interested. And those happen to be the most difficult qualities to convey on video  because of how the camera distorts certain things or the fact that we don't adapt to this space that we're given, or we have 85% of our body language is gone. All that additional context that used to add to our presence and our communication is gone. 

Most people have no idea what their 20% says. And very often it says something very different than they intend. And until we understand how our audience perceives us on their screen, we often do things that damage our credibility.

Rachel Cossar:
Right. It's like communication misfires are happening.

Julie Hansen:
Right. If you think about it, one of the biggest things you can do to build trust with someone, and this was a question that was posed to a thousand executives, is to actively listen. What does listening behavior look like on video?

It looks like this. (demonstrates in video) There's no eye contact. There's no nonverbal cues that you heard what I said. And people will say, well, they know I'm looking at their picture. That's a logical response to something that is very emotional. 

Trust is not  based entirely on logic and neither are relationships. We fool ourselves by saying, well, that doesn't really matter. It does matter. Those not so little things add up to, 'Do I feel like I could trust this person?'

So we have to understand what we're doing that might be keeping us from building this trusted relationship and shooting ourselves in the foot, because we can do all those other things. We can be a good listener, but if it's like a tree falls in the forest and you don't hear it, did it fall?

We have to make sure that what we think we're communicating is being received. And people have very little understanding of how their customer, their audience experiences them on their screen.

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