Harvard-Trained Expert Reveals Top Technique for Gaining Trust: ‘That’s What I Would Do’

Establishing trust with others is crucial for success, but setting an example as a leader is not the most effective approach, according to a Harvard-educated leadership consultant. Yasmene Mumby, founder of management consulting firm The Ringgold, tells CNBC Make It that many people believe demonstrating their leadership competence will earn them trust. However, she emphasizes that trust is built when people know “that you have their back, that they’re supported by you and that your support isn’t going to be used for exploitation later.”

Mumby suggests that the key to cultivating this deep connection lies in active listening. By being fully engaged in conversations and demonstrating understanding through your responses, you can gain the trust of others. “Go in utilizing your deep, inquiry-based listening,” Mumby advises, adding, “That’s what I would do.”

Mastering this simple yet not necessarily easy strategy involves maintaining eye contact, remaining still, and waiting for the speaker to complete their thoughts before responding, as mental health coach Amanda O’Bryan suggested in a Positive Psychology blog post. When you do respond, consider asking open-ended follow-up questions, such as “How did that make you feel?” or “How can I help?”

According to Mumby, giving undivided attention is essential, as any form of mental multitasking can detract from the conversation.

A 2010 study from the University of Utah’s psychology department found that only 2.5% of people can multitask effectively. To truly build trust, Mumby emphasizes the need for consistency and repetition in practicing active listening.

She concludes, “You need to be able to demonstrate that you’re consistent and you don’t switch up when the moment is right.”

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