Listen & Cultivate Trust

It’s an intense time for human beings. For many, this is an understatement, especially for those on the front lines. Give a big, “thank you” to every person on the front line who is serving all of us during this global pandemic. For some, an average day is filled juggling numerous diverse priorities, from working remote to arranging home school schedules, including the most important, filling the gaps with meaningful activities for children. Let’s also not forget the energy required to ward off guilt as we allow our kids to engage in more screen time than when times were less uncertain. That’s what we must remember, these are not typical times and now more than ever, we need to connect. We need to speak regularly, more directly via phone or video to expand our confidence and renew our trust.

Contrary instructions by multiple sources is making it difficult to know what or who is reliable? When this reliability is not present, we can lose a sense of trust, the key component for decision making. Whenever trust is weak or perceived as broken between people, it blocks effective collaboration. Again, this is why it is essential to talk directly and regularly. Avoid any longer infrequent talks to shorter, more regular check-ins. Planning these in advance works well in establishing reliability and expanding trust. 

Below are some communication tips for the days ahead. These are aimed to frame discussions in ways that will help people open up, share their experience, and grow trust between people during these uncertain times. These suggestions also combat loneliness and fear linked to home isolation and physical distancing. So remember, pick up the phone or use any of the increasing array of video tools that are now available to connect with all ages, no matter their stage of life.

Begin with these questions to open-up your dialogue, such as:

  • Are your friends talking about what’s going on? (substitute “friends” for family or colleagues)
  • Are you learning anything new?
  • Describe what you’re learning.
  • What do your friends think about home isolation? 
  • Do you have any tips for dealing with home isolation? 

As you listen, apply empathy for how they are responding. Ask yourself, what this point of view or experience must be like for them? How does the experience they are sharing make you feel? How do you believe it makes them feel? Take note of their facial expressions when having a visual connection as they talk. 

Reflect on the following questions to help you assess your next steps:

  • What seems top of mind for this individual?
  • So far, what do they know about the current situation? Or facts surrounding it?
  • Do they have the information they need?
  • What else do they need to know (if anything)?
  • Are they misinformed? Does this require further conversation?
  • How can you respectfully address these topics with this individual?
  • What facts do you need to share at this time?
  • How can you say this to make it accurate yet not scary? 
  • How can you make it relatable and informative?

Sharing a recent “Bright Spot” experience can be a useful way to talk about your values and purpose during these tender pandemic times. Explain how they have lifted your spirits or give you purpose in an era of such uncertainty. Encourage others to share any “Bright Spots” they are willing to offer when/if they believe it is appropriate. Remember “to be heard” is one of the most valuable gifts we can ever give one another. Listening more will bring great purpose to your relationships, at work and in life.  

And stay safe everyone!

Energize your values, vision and vitality with Promoting Brilliance.

Contact Beth Wellesley at 612.824.0454 (o) or 612.325.5104 (m). Email her at or use the CONNECTING menu.