“The Language of Trust” Teaches Communications Lessons in a Skeptical World

In the recent movie “Invention of Lying” Ricky Gervais lives in a world where everyone tells the truth.  And since everyone tells the truth all the time, there is no reason to doubt anything they say as being nothing short of honest.  The movie succeeds in making us laugh.

But it also drives another, much more serious point home; in real life, we are surrounded by lies.  In fact, we’ve become  so disenchanted with the messages we hear, that we’ve turned into an extremely skeptical audience.

Trust is Dead

“Over the years, with the weight of our accumulated experiences, we’ve simply become more distrustful of everyone and everything around us.  We don’t trust the government to look out for us.  We don’t trust each other to take responsibility for ourselves anymore there are exceptions, but the general trend is undeniable We now live in an era of mistrust.”

Now you know it isn’t just you.  In fact, if you’ve been wondering why your marketing and sales messages have been falling on deaf ears – you don’t need to wonder.  Just look inside yourself and pay attention to the little voice inside your head whenever you listen to the news, read an article or listen to a salesperson discuss the features of their product.  It says something like “hmmmm really?  I’m not sure I believe you”

One thing is for sure: this is NOT your father’s marketplace.

The Authors are Language Rock Stars

Like you, I’ve felt this very same trend when I realized that marketing was more about your customer CHOOSING you, rather than a company selling you something.  That’s when I started doing some research.

The first book I bought on the topic was by Frank Luntz, a political strategist and writer, called “It’s Not About What You Say, It’s About What People Hear.”  In it, Frank does a fantastic job of pulling the curtain back on language and showing us exactly why we trust some people and messages and not others.

The Language of Trust: Selling Ideas in a World of Skeptics” was written by the CEO of Maslansky Luntz + Partners, Michael Maslansky with Scott West, Gary DeMoss and David Saylor.  These guys are a variable SWAT team of experts dedicated to improving how we communicate.  I received a review copy of this book from the publisher but this is one I would have bought for myself.

While Frank Luntz’s Book “It’s Not About What You Say” exposes how we process language, “The Language of Trust” takes the next logical step and actually helps you craft more honest, more authentic messages.

Language Magic Deconstructed and Applied

You will enjoy how this team of writers and language analysts distills the magic they weave into processes that you can easily read, remember, learn and implement even in your next conversation.

The book comes in four parts:

Part One: The New Language of Trust – In this section, you get the backstory of all the research and how it is that the authors can say what they say.  It’s a riveting and interesting read.  I have to say that it’s my favorite part of the book.

Part Two: The Four Principles of Credible Communication – Here is the magic formula: Be Personal, Be Plainspoken, Be Positive, Be Plausible.  Really. That is all there is.  These are simple words, we know what they mean and yet we don’t use these strategies nearly enough because if we did – we wouldn’t have a need for this book.

Part Three: The New Word Order – Again, more of what you learned in kindergarten.  Listen before speaking.  Put the other person’s interest ahead of your own and provide context.

Part Four: The Medium and the Message – This last section contains those parting words that your parents or a mentor or coach might give you as you head out to get that job, the big contract or win the big game.  This section contains the most common phrases that should be banned such as “Trust me” or “If I could promise you this would you buy?”

OK, so I lied.  Part four was my favorite section.  Or maybe it was part two?  Let’s just say the whole book was not only a fun and enlightening read, but it has given me a new awareness for the unique distinctions that are still a part of our language.

A Must Read for Communicators at Any Level

This book must be on your book shelf if:

  • You are a leader in any organization
  • You need to persuade a spouse, a child a client or a boss to see things your way
  • You are a sales, marketing or communications professional
  • You’re thinking of running for political office
  • You’re negotiating or persuading groups of people who don’t see eye-to-eye

While I generally don’t like to say a book is for everyone, if you ever have to persuade people to do more than pass the salt – pick this one up.  You’ll not only be a better communicator, you will create less conflict and will more easily get people to see things your way.

Ivana Taylor Ivana Taylor is the Book Editor for Small Business Trends. She is responsible for directing the site’s book review program and manages the team of professional book reviewers. She also spearheads the annual Small Business Book Awards. Ivana publishes DIYMarketers, where she shares daily do-it-yourself marketing tips, and is co-author of "Excel for Marketing Managers."