Conversation builds trust

Trust is the foundation for collaboration and high performance both for the individual, the team and the organisation in general.

Trust is founded in conversation.

Conversation can take place at different levels from banter and small talk at one end to deep discussions about important topics on the other. Conversations that stimulate collaboration are conversations that reveal deeper thoughts and truths. To go to deeper levels of conversation we need trust, at the same time trust is built by going to deeper levels of conversation.


Traditional formal conversations have beenof the one-to-many (hierarchical) type featuring telling, selling, presenting,negotiating and influencing.

Collaborative conversations that are the foundation of working together effectively are of the many-to-many type featuring listening (especially with the other person’s well-being in mind, free of any personal agenda), dialogue, trusting, and reflecting.

It seems obvious that the more and deeper conversations that can be encouraged then the quicker and more strongly trust is developed. Conversations need to be about something that is meaningful for them to go deeper.

In workshops, conversations are stimulated by the quality of the questions that are asked. In fact, workshops are designed to answer difficult questions by getting everyone’s input, and that input comes through conversation.

The trick, then, is to try and convert the old, formal one-to-many conversations into multiple conversations. Meetings themselves can be changed to accommodate this shift, some meetings can be converted into workshops and some into simple conversations, with or without agenda.

Change the meetings, change the culture!

John Corrigan