Build Trust: People Like People Who Are Like Themselves!


by Kevin Watson



Here’s a fact for you – it’s always easier to build trust with someone who is just like you.

Are you aware that you can recognise how a person thinks simply by listening to the words they use in everyday conversation, and then use this to build trust when communicating with them?

We are constantly processing information around us using all of our senses, and particularly:

  • in pictures – VISUAL
  • by sound – AUDITORY
  • through feelings – KINAESTHETIC

Suppose you meet someone who makes decisions because it looks right and mostly uses visual type words when talking with you.

Perhaps this person sees the experience as images in the mind’s eye. If this is true, you will find it useful to communicate with this person by showing diagrams or pictures.

Now imagine you meet someone else who makes decisions by it feels right. For this person, you’ll want to ask how he or she feels when you’re talking together.

To build trust with people, it’s important to listen out for the words people use, because they will reveal how they’re thinking.

Here are some examples:

  • people with a bias for VISUAL thinking will use words such as:
    see; look; view; appear; show; reveal; envision; illuminate; imagine; clear; foggy; focused; hazy
  • people with a bias for AUDITORY thinking use words and phrases such as:
    hear; listen; sounds; harmonise; tune in/out; be all ears; rings a bell; silence; resonate
  • people with a bias for KINAESTETIC thinking will use:
    feel; touch; grasp; get hold of; slip through; catch on; tap into; make contact; hard; unfeeling; concrete

Practise listening to the people in your team.

See if you can spot the preferred thinking styles, start to match their language and notice the difference it makes.


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About the Author

Kevin Watson

Kevin is a highly experienced Leadership Coach and acts as Consultant to several boards of global organisations, as well as local business owners. He is passionate about making a difference by enabling and encouraging leaders who want to create and sustain meaningful change in themselves and the organisation.



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