I can personally vouch for three methods. They work. And it ‘s a good job they do too. We could accomplish little in life without trust. Trust is the glue that binds us together.


I extol the virtues of active listening and open-ended questioning as the main stays of inter-personal communication. They are necessary; they are not sufficient. If you use them in total isolation then there is the danger that you will be perceived as interrogating a suspect rather than building rapport. The person on the receiving end will feel attacked and vulnerable. The information flow is one way.

Self-disclosing is using a personal revelation (of feelings, shortcomings, private thoughts, proprietary information, etc) to influence greater openness and confidence between the other person and yourself. For instance, in a conversation you might say something like, I ‘m still quite nervous when I ‘m about to present an idea to someone more senior

Such self-disclosure is a powerful tool for building bridges with people and developing rapport. It works because it conveys your human side. Self-disclosure signals your willingness to trust the other, since you ‘re conveying something personal, something private, about yourself. And in doing so, you are influencing the other person to reciprocate with a similar level of self-disclosure, thereby creating a deepening level of revelation and openness.

Methods of self-disclosure in everyday dialogue are many and varied. At its most basic, it can involve sharing private information with another. I don ‘t mean giving your life-story to the person in the canteen queue. The level of information disclosed should be appropriate and gradual. A little deeper is disclosing your feelings or evaluation of something. In doing so you are sharing more of yourself. The deepest sort of self-disclosure includes admitting one ‘s mistakes and shortcomings, and even admitting the need for help.


In psychology, mirroring is the whole process of imitating someone with the purpose of acquiring empathy and connection i.e. ‘rapport building ‘. This matching of your body language to the person to whom you are speaking can include body posture, movement, voice tone and tempo, and even breathing rate.

I would describe mirroring as ‘synchronised non-verbal communication ‘. It indicates maximum communication with the other person. If you move your arms apart, opening your palms, and they do the same, you are both in synch. The messages and the words of the conversation are being received and accepted by the other. Behaving in a way that is deliberately similar to the other person ‘s behaviour is called ‘pacing ‘.


The final way to build trust cannot be taught in an internet blog or a training workshop. Yet it is the strongest of all. It means doing what you ‘d said you would do. If you don ‘t do this, no amount of fancy techniques of speech or body language will be of any assistance to you.

The ancient Greeks said that there were three modes of persuasion: ethos, pathos and logos. We would call these ethics, emotion and argument. And the greatest of these, both then and now, is ethics.