Trust is the Most Essential Ingredient in Communication and Persuasion

When it comes trust, the late Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, told audiences, “Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.”

Persuasion is a form of communication and trust is essential if you want to become more effective when it comes to your ability to build relationships and influence people. Why is trust so important when it comes to persuasion? Two big reasons: trust removes thoughts of manipulation and doubt. Let’s look a little deeper at each.


When you think about manipulation you probably remember times where you felt taken advantage of. Those memories may include:

  • Paying way too much for some product or service
  • Being talked into buying something you clearly didn’t need
  • Realizing after the fact that you were lied to

After each situation you may have thought, “If I only knew then what I know now, I would have made a different decision.”

Trust entails being truthful and being honest. Ethical persuaders don’t lie, conceal facts or distort the truth in order to get what they want.

When it comes to price there may be reasons you’re paying more and ethical persuaders let you know when and why that’s the case. No matter the reason, to build trust an ethical persuader deals with it early on. Here is an example:

“Mr. Smith, I want to be up front with you. Our price is higher than our competitors. Part of the reason is we pay our people more so we get the best electricians [carpenters, repairmen, etc.]. Another reason is our guarantee to finish the job on time. I told you this project will take a week so we will be done by next Monday. Unlike some competitors, we won’t allow this to drag out over two or three weeks. You have my word.”


A big reason you engage the services of people like attorneys, doctors, financial planners and others is because they have more expertise than you do in their chosen field. It’s likely they have better solutions than you do and can arrive at those answers faster than you can. In the end you decide it’s worth the money to engage their services because it saves you time, effort and headaches.

Being unsure as to what you need to do causes doubt. None of us likes doubting ourselves as we try to make decisions about our futures. Engaging the services of a trusted expert removes or severely reduces doubt and that makes us feel better.

No matter how much expertise someone may have, if you don’t trust them you’re not likely to follow their advice. Bernie Madoff may know more about investing than you or I, but would you trust him with your money after he swindled people out of more than a billion dollars?


If you want to be as effective as possible when it comes to persuasion you have to be a trustworthy person. Here are three simple ways to make that happen:

  • Be truthful in all your dealings
  • Address any weakness or flaw in your offering early on
  • Make sure your words and deeds match

I’ll close with a quote from Aristotle, the famous Greek philosopher, “Character may almost be called the most effective means of persuasion.” Be known as a person of character because you’re someone people trust.

Brian Ahearn, CMCT®, is the Chief Influence Officer at Influence PEOPLE, LLC. His Learning course, Persuasive Selling, has been viewed by more than 50,000 people! His latest course, Persuasive Coaching, just went live. Have you watched them yet? If not, click on either course name to see what you’ve been missing.

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