The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.
Trust begins from the core. Be confident, in order to convey this trust to others. This does not mean ignoring your weaknesses, they are after all part of who you are so embrace them along with your strengths.
This individual level of trust will find its application in all other levels, such as group work, facilitation, research, performance, etc.
Trust your working group
Devise ways where all members of the groups can express freely and un-self-consciously. Assign jobs to experienced members, and assistants who are eager to learn. Rotate tasks.
Practice trust exercises, play trust games.
Check our collection of resources for collective decision making [Resource: Meeting & collective decision-making facilitation Tools], or make up your own. Make sure all members of the group understand and agree on the rules of collaboration (one of the cases unanimity is key), and if you see something does not work, do not hesitate to ameliorate it.
It’s not necessary to be friends. It’s great if you are, or if you become friends in the process.
Trust your stakeholders
- Make a good map of the people, communities, businesses, organisations, institutions that can help you.
- What are the (potential) relations between each other, and to you?
- Who are they, and how are they are going to help you? How will you involve them in the design process?
Inspire trust to your stakeholders
- A warm invitation, a confident pitching, transparency, honesty and respect are the way to go.
- Community stakeholders, more than entrepreneurial ones, require more time, patience, and the establishment of personal social bonds. Spend time with members of the community, attend community gatherings and other social occasions where you are invited, as part of your research. “Parachuting” (landing in a community, do your job taking what you need, and leave without never looking back) is a controversial practice that has cultivated legitimate mistrust towards similar community approaches, especially within vulnerable groups.
- Even with formal institutions, remember you are dealing with real people.
- Remember names.
[Acknowledging your vulnerabilities might be a matter of character, but is also a strategy of approach: a peer community or a marginalized group might not connect with you if you appear a well-polished face, whereas an official institution or a corporate business might expect an unassailable approach.]
Expand your network of trust
How do you bring diverse people together in your design process? Will they trust each other?
Look to the resources for participatory design. There are numerous methodologies for designing and facilitating discussions, workshops, or even games for that matter. What values do you all share in common? Could you imagine and design a game that addresses those values? (Would you introduce trust as one of them?)
Sharing is caring. Have some catering.
Design, propose, negotiate and agree on a consistent engagement plan with your stakeholders:
What do you need of them? For how long, and how often? What are they gaining out of their involvement?
- Acknowledge your stakeholders’ feedback. Incorporate their ideas, explain why you did not incorporate others.
- Test your design with them. Re-design or ameliorate if necessary.
- Stick to your engagement plan.
- What are the benefits for every stakeholder’s participation? are you making sure they are getting what they want?