The Positive Energy Workplace

5 Ways to Connect and Build Trust With People


You're leading a team meeting, your employee asks you for feedback or advice, your kid wants an extra bedtime story, your spouse really needs you to listen to her, your investor has a couple of questions, your client wants to run something by you. Everyone wants a piece of you, and there's not a lot to go around and not a lot of time. You have one million and one things going on, only one of you, and you have to Show Up. One more request or demand, and you might just implode.Been there? Maybe you're there right now?

What to do?

It's actually very simple. It's not rocket science (though the application and devotion to doing it is), and it's not even about time. It's about being present.

Take a deep breath, get present, and be present in the moment, with this very person, with this very group, with this very subject right now. Mentally, emotionally, physically, energetically, right here, right now. That's it.

Later you can reassess your schedule, your priorities, your inability to say "no", and how to leverage yourself better. But right now, while this person needs your partnership and leadership--you need to show up and be present. If you want to build trust and connection with this human being(s) in front of you, you've got to "get in there".

Here are 5 ways to amp up your presence, right now. (They're all free and completely within your control.)

1. Go deep. Look "underneath". What's your kid saying? (Look at those awesome eyelashes, feel that love.) What's your spouse asking for? (Hear that voice and the intention and desire behind it.) Who's your employee becoming? (Check out that earnestness and care.) What's the question under the question? (There's more here, right now.) Who are your clients and investors? (They want to feel confident that you can be with them NOW.)

2. Trust your brain. Be right here, right now. What is happening right now, right in this moment? Your intuition and brain will inform you with what brilliant thing to do or say next, but you've got to be here in this moment right now. Allow yourself to listen word to word, to breathe breath to breath, and to be fully in this moment with this person. Ditch making up what they're going to say, or where this conversation is going to go, or how hard it's going to be, or even how long it's going to take--all of these are crazy making.

3. Show up before you have to show up. Set yourself up for success. The more you show up for yourself regularly before any of this even happens, the easier it will be for you to show up for others. Your breathing, your self-care, your "me time", the food you put in your body, your levels of hydration, the people you surround yourself with, even how clean your closet is. These things all have an impact on how well you'll be able to show up for others--and your endurance for doing so. Set yourself up well.

4. Take a time out. It's an absolutely viable option to say "Hey, you know what, I want to give you my full attention on this, give me 5." And to go give yourself a breather and a presence reboot. Especially if getting present right now in this moment feels truly impossible and you need a quick break. Just name it. Your person will appreciate the honesty and care you took to be truly be there for them vs. faking presence.

5. Recover. Over and over again. Fall off the Presence Wagon? No worries. It happens all the time. Catch it, breathe into it, recover, name it if it serves, and get back in there.

Full presence and showing up in this moment are some of the most powerful tools you have for building trust and connection. Your kids will love you for it, your spouse will lean into you for it, your clients and investors will respect you for it, your employees will trust you for it, and you just might find yourself taking an extra breath. Ready? Go.

// This article first appeared on January 19, 2015 on

// Image credit: Getty Images.

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