The Huffington Post

By Judith E. Glaser |
Published: September 16, 2013


There are 5 characteristics of a conversation that bring about a sense of well-being and connectivity with others. As you weave these conversations into your team-building and relationship-building activities, you'll notice a positive shift in the openness and trust. Focus on elevating the level of trust by:

1. Transparency--being more open and transparent with colleagues about what's going on in the department, what decisions are in play, and what's on your mind. Share information and be open to discuss why you do what you do ... breaking the code of silence.

• Encourage and have candid conversations that promote transparency and trust around the topics of "how we're doing" and "what we need to do" to create accountability and success throughout the organization.
• Provide feedback for aligning words, actions, and deeds.

2. Relationships--focusing on building relationships before working on tasks is paramount and provides a foundation for both handling difficult issues and identifying aspirations. Focus on... getting in sync with people's needs and aspirations to create strong bonds.


• Decide on the core values that will guide your actions and agreements.
• Set and practice rules of engagement that foster open, candid, and caring conversations.

3. Understanding--appreciating others' perspectives, points of view, and ways of seeing the world strengthens bonds of trust. Listen and ask more questions. Minimize fighting for one's point of view and maximize exploring others' perspectives ... creating bridges into what's important to others.

• Make it a practice to ask for and listen to feedback from others who may not agree with your perspective and points of view.
• Ask "what if?" questions that open the doors to new ways of thinking without pre-judging the ideas of others that may be different than your own. Really LISTEN!

4. Shared Success--defining success with others creates a shared meaning about what's important and what is not for us to work on together. By defining success together, everyone contributes to co-creating the future we believe in... creating a shared view of reality shapes the future with others.

• Initiate conversations about mutual success and what success looks like for each of us.
• Encourage people to communicate and discuss the shared view of success with others.

5. Truth-telling--speaking with candor and caring; and when misunderstandings occur, taking risks with courage and facing reality with openness to learn... working and narrowing the reality gaps with others creates alignment and builds bonds of trust.

• When gaps between your truth and my truth appear, discuss them with the intent to create bridges of understanding.
• Hold and encourage conversations that start with empathy and move toward a common goal or outcome.

Neuroscience of TRUST!

Most of us would acknowledge that trust is a key part of our lives. We may even think we know how to size up whether to trust someone at that moment of contact when we first meet, perhaps in whom we choose to hire or work with.

Our level of trust is changed, in many cases, by the way we share information, that is, through conversations. Conversations trigger physical and emotional changes in our brains and bodies through altering the amounts of two of the most powerful hormones that affect social interaction: oxytocin, which enables bonding and collaboration, and testosterone, which enables our aggressive behaviors.

In addition, when we distrust people we also activate our fear hormones -- cortisol, which triggers our primitive brain and cause us to move into protection mindsets and behaviors with others.

You can elevate the levels of trust in your environment by focusing on being more mindful of the tone and actions you live every day. Introduce higher levels of transparency, by focusing on relationship before task, by spending more time understanding others perspectives, by creating a picture of mutual success, and by being willing to "tell the truth" -- or Break the Code of Silence when things feel out of sync. Then, you are able to create and sustain a highly productive trusting workplace.

Judith E. Glaser, CEO Benchmark Communications, Inc. & Chairman of the Creating WE Institute; Author of Conversational Intelligence: How Great Leaders Build Trust and Get Extraordinary Results (BiblioMotion) October 2013. Order now on Amazon; visit us at;

Follow Judith E. Glaser on Twitter:

Keep up-to-date with The CreatingWE Institute and Conversational Intelligence® via our email newsletter