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Penny Power Ponders the importance of how you gain trust in the digital age?

This week, I had many moments when I witnessed and felt the importance of how I felt during and after a new interaction with someone in business. I thought this would be a great ponder to share, as the ability to trust information and people is becoming increasingly challenging for us all in the digital age.

Trust is a feeling, and feelings are heart led. Social Media has made it much harder to connect as a heart level, broadcast is never as good as a deep conversation and so leaving a feeling of trust online or face to face is a skill we all need to achieve.

This quote from Mayo Angelou always inspires me “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”.

I am a ‘feelings’ person, emotion in business is our number one value, you have probably already gathered that about me. I think that is because trust is a very high value for me. I am naturally cautious and central to this is whether I can trust someone. A great member of BIP100 said to us in a meeting last week, ‘Trust is now THE currency in business’. I agree with him.

Trust is a feeling, it is in our gut and heart, not in our brains. If being able to trust others is THE currency in business, how are you achieving this?

One of the many ways that we achieve this in business is through a very transparent, close, and open relationship with our clients, our BIP100 members. This journey starts with a long call to get to know one another, at a human level, not just about our work, but about life, past challenges, and adversity that has been experienced. Sometimes we meet potential members at a private lunch, when we invite our guests to share their story.

Last week, we ran such a lunch in Zurich, 19 of us in a private room, personally shared their story in life and business. Thomas and I were nervous about whether this would work in a different culture, however, we should have been more confident. No matter where we live, what culture we are from, we all like to be understood at a far greater level than purely what we are earning a living doing.

Our values, our reason, our journey through life makes us who we are. This is the richness of living a life, and this is why ‘Business IS Personal’. With every Zoom meetup, every 121 chat, every meeting, we witness the thirst for connecting at this level. Who we are differentiates us, our journey sets us apart and the feeling we give when we share, enables trust.

Can networking and social media achieve this? To some extent it can, however, face to face our body language, the sparkle in our eyes, our enthusiasm, and the impact we genuinely want to have, plus the desire we all have for friendship, they come across so much more when we are in front of someone.

When we created Ecademy in 1998, the first Social Network for Business, our culture was about social networking not social media. We held 5000 offline events a year, the blend of face to face and online remains a priority for us in business. We witness that the feeling people get when they are hugged, when people are thrilled to see them, when they can sit and have an intimate conversation, can never be replaced. Once this relationship is formed offline, the online becomes richer.

In my Keynote, ‘The Human Touch in a Digital World”, which I am delivering this week to a large Institution, I am reflecting on the ways we used to work together; from primal man, to farmers, to factory workers and then into the office. Now we are lone wolves, working alone, potentially forgetting that trust is still an important currency.

I guess my ponderings this week, which started out as a ponder about how we make people feel, has become a ponder about the joy of physically seeing one another to make each other feel special. As technology becomes an ever-increasing aspect of our daily lives, we all must learn how to build trust through the feeling we leave people with. Our knowledge, our credibility and our CV are not always enough to secure a new business relationship, someone who will refer you, recommend you, trade with you. We all seek more than this to feel happy in our transactional decisions, we need to feel you.

Finding the blend of the on and the offline, this is the ideal way to find balance in life and build trust.

Perhaps this week you can think about how often you go out and meet people. How often do you gain the uplift of new friends and deep connections? We all want it, it just takes a little more planning to find it, but the benefits are enormous, and I am sure you make people feel great when they meet you.

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