Elite Voices: Building Trust Internally and Externally

First a confession.

We’ve been super selfish. Between our customers, prospects, and partners, and the incredible people from who we’ve learned at IABC, PRSA, Forbes Communication Council, #DySiThink and Ragan Communications, the #DySiTeam has gained some pretty invaluable insights.

But we’ve kept them all to ourselves. Until now.

Introducing Elite Voices. This new Dynamic Signal blog series will feature thought leadership, best practices, and innovative solutions from some of the best and brightest whom we are lucky to call our friends.

Every few weeks, we’re posing a new question to our Elite Community of communicators (#DySiElite) to ask them for their expertise on various topics and conversations. Then, we’re picking the best of the best and sharing them with you!

Our inaugural topic of conversation? Something that seems to be top of mind for every organization: Building trust with internal and external audiences. (And our community’s conversation did not disappoint!)

Authenticity Still Rules

“Authenticity is key to building trust in communications. The message(s) will resonate best with target audiences if delivered and driven by a trusted face or name — a Leader or Influencer that brings credibility as well as a genuine interest in the message.” Inna Getselis, Global Editorial Manager at Mercer

“I think you can divide it up into building trust in a message and building trust in a person, and there are some overlapping and some different tactics to use in both. In terms of getting people to trust the message, much of that trust can be built up with who delivers it. When peers and, specifically, influential leaders are the deliverers of a message, employees’ natural hesitation tends to dissipate and the barriers to trust come down. In terms of building trust in an individual, having communicators speak naturally and authentically without a script is your best bet in terms of building trust in an individual. We had a wonderful discussion about that very topic in our recent Dynamic Signal ThinkTank in New York, and I walked away with a ton of great ideas on how to increase authenticity, especially in video.” -Adam Schair – Global Colleague Communications Leader at Mercer

But How Good IS IT?

According to Autodesk’s Jacob Shepard, the gut check our friend Jim Cockin at Sky uses to gauge content quality works for building trust, as well- If the content isn’t good enough to go in front of external audiences, then it’s not good enough to go in front of internal audiences either.

“In today’s world content is a currency to build trust and therefore it is critical to make it high quality. In our program, we make sure to not only curate our content but ensure it is both written and packaged in a manner that our members want to consume it.” Jacob Shepard, Content Marketing Manager at Autodesk 

Passion with Purpose

As Dynamic Signal advisor Mark Ragan talks about… branded content can be “Infotainment.”

“Building trust with employees means offering them lots of fun and interesting things to share that have nothing to do with our company. I want them to share their thoughts on summer blockbuster movies, social issues they’re passionate about, and articles that support amazing things our customers are doing. Stress with employees that this is about them and their personal brand. I remind them that if they aren’t participating in conversations about the cool stuff they’re creating with peers on social media from other companies, they’re missing out. It’s like being a fan of a band and skipping out on a free concert they’re throwing in your front yard.” Isaac Irvine – Manager of Employee Advocacy and Personal Brand at GoDaddy

Honesty is STILL the Best Policy… But Don’t Forget Humility

“I don’t know about you, but the indicator light on my B.S. meter starts flickering if every answer is “Yes” or “Sure, I know about that,” during a conversation. So even though we’re SAS’ Corporate Social Media Team, we don’t pretend to have all the answers. That’s one tried-and-true tactic we use to establish trust. It’s a method that may seem counter intuitive, but it’s made us more approachable and helped build rapport. — For example, when we train employees on a new social media skill, it’s not unusual for us to say, “I actually struggle with this too.” Bottom line: It’s about balancing ‘knowing your stuff’ with the reality that you can’t know it all.” Alli Soule – Employee Engagement & Training at SAS

“Such an amazing point. And one of the best ways to build authenticity. A little humility goes a long way. People shouldn’t underestimate how attractive that can be in leaders and influencers.” Adam Schair (in response to Alli)

Agree? Disagree? Join the conversation and tweet at us with your thoughts!

Post Author

G.I. Sanders

G.I. Sanders is Senior Director, Creative Services at Dynamic Signal. He specializes in entrepreneurship, digital and social media, design, and marketing. G.I. is based in Dallas, TX with his wife and two sons. Passions include technology, startups, music, fitness and sports.