Trust Triggers to Make You a Yes Instead of a No
In the time that it took you to read the word "Trust" in the above sentence, you would have decided if you trusted me or not. Trust happens in 1/10 of a second. Within that tiny window you decide whether the person you see if a YES or no!
Everybody needs to be accepted by others at many different levels in life. This is how we fit together and work together as a society. To begin, there is general acceptance. This type of acceptance is primarily provided by strangers; random people encountered on a daily basis while walking down the street, getting your morning coffee, or eating dinner in a crowded restaurant. This type of general acceptance is the average encounter you have many times a day so you are not as likely to manage it.
The next level of acceptance would be the acceptance offered by associates, or the group of people encountered on a daily basis, but who aren't necessarily considered friends. These are people with whom small talk is made, a little bit of personal information is known, and there is a general, mutual likability. This level of acceptance is more difficult to obtain than general acceptance, but not by much. This level generally requires a level of interest, a general level of trust, and common courtesy.
Working relationships require a higher level of acceptance, especially for a boss/subordinate relationship. To be accepted by a boss or into a company, it's essential for one to meet certain criteria. When hiring, companies and supervisors are literally labeling candidates as "yeses," or "nos." They are determining a certain level of acceptance based on trust, likability, workability, and skill. This level of acceptance is on a professional level, but based highly on personal skills and attributes. This higher level of acceptance is the difference between the job of your dreams and working at Taco Bell, but hey, we all like burritos right?
A much deeper level of acceptance is reserved for friendships. This acceptance requires a major amount of trust, enjoyment of time spent together, common interests, and mutual respect. This level of acceptance requires work from both parties involved, and usually takes a significant amount of time to develop, and although this level of acceptance may be difficult to fully obtain, it's one of the most satisfying levels of acceptance and offers f benefits to both parties involved.
The deepest level of acceptance one can obtain is that of love and partnership. This level of acceptance requires one hundred percent trust from both partners, a deep desire to be with one another, mutual interest, and the willingness to work to develop and maintain this intimacy. Although this is the most difficult level of relationship to obtain, it's the most rewarding and provides the most satisfaction.
If one has a difficult time maintaining any of these levels of acceptance, they are often deemed (perhaps unjustly) a social outcast. They have a difficult time developing meaningful, long-lasting relationships, and they generally rate themselves as more unhappy than people who obtain these levels of acceptance. Some of these people even argue that they make the choice to avoid meaningful relationships. But is it possible they really want to be a social pariah? Some people don't yet know the social cues and body language associated with being a "yes." We can always learn!
Trust Triggers and Body Language
Body language is the conscious or unconscious non-verbal expression of our thoughts, attitudes, and feelings. A large percentage of information is transmitted through body language, so what the body is saying is obviously more important than what is coming out of the mouth. Staggering, I know! So, when a hottie is spotted on the dance floor, an interview is landed for the dream job, or new potential clients are met, both the words and the movements must be congruent or it will not work out as anticipated or desired.
Now that the importance of body language is known, and sufficient pressure has been applied, it is time to learn the trust triggers, or small body language cues, to be considered a "yes" instead of a "no:"
• Smile affectionately. Not a nervous, insincere smile, which will creep people out, but a real, affectionate smile. Nothing is more inviting in any situation than a sincere, infectious smile. In addition, smiling sets off positive feelings in the prefrontal cortex of the brain, the seat of positive emotions, so when you smile, you literally become happier. Also, because we are all gifted with mirror neurons, our monkey see monkey do neurons, they also feel happy.
• Lean in more closely to listen when somebody is speaking. This demonstrates a sincere level of interest as well as a confident and dominant personality. Keeping this in mind, do not invade peoples' personal space. Look for cues that you might be too close such as folding of the arms, leaning away, sudden avoidance of eye contact, etc. The idea is to portray sincerity and interest so self awareness is KEY.
• The brain is a fascinating enigma -- it is broken up into two hemispheres which communicate with eachother by way of a thick band of nerve fibers referred to as the corpus collosum. I wont bore you with details, but you can think of the corpus collosum as a giant computer cable that connects two very powerful computers, the left hemisphere and the right hemisphere. The left hemisphere is typically where intellect is processed -- think of it as the court reporter, simply getting down what was said. The right hemisphere is typically where emotions are processed, so the right brain becomes the translator and recognizes tone, innendos and deeper meanings like sarcasm. Knowing this information, speak to the correct side of the brain; if you are trying to talk to and want to engage some cerebrally, speak to their right side (which will automatically be processed in the left cerebral brain). If you want to engage them emotionally, speak to their left side (which is automatically processed in the right emotional brain)
• Relax the arms to the sides.
• Touch the person's arm with whom you're speaking as touch sends electricity through the entire body and also denotes confidence and playfulness. Of course, be careful with touch as it is important to feel out the appropriateness of the situation before physically engaging them. A slap on the back to the CEO is probably not a good idea, but flirting at a party or nightclub is an appropriate time to lightly touch an arm. Don't get too touchy. Make it natural and comfortable.
Keeping these "do" factors and body language cues in mind, let's consider the "don'ts:"
• Avoid a withdrawn posture. Nothing says, "avoid me," or "I don't believe in myself" like slumped shoulders. Stand up straight with square shoulders to present a positive, confident self-image.
• Don't break eye contact too often but don't stalker stare either. Eyes should not dart around the room, or stray from your target for too long during a conversation. When the eyes wander while somebody is speaking, trust and confidence is questioned.
• Avoid an insincere smile. Smiles that aren't genuine can sometimes be construed as bored or contemptuous.
• Don't fold the arms or furrow the brow. Both gestures come across as defensive.
• Avoid standing with hands on the hips unless you are mirroring your target or trying to make a power statement. Flash back to childhood. How do children know when they're in trouble? When mom has her hands on her hips.
• Don't lean away or move away from the recipient. This makes the speaker feel like they are being avoided.
If we learn to communicate with our bodies as well as our words, we can be persuasive, eloquent, authentic communicators. When the art is perfected, we become the ultimate "yes."