How to Write About Trust (People Are Always Involved)
- On February 24, 2016
She is untrustable, a political commentator said about Hillary Clinton the other day.
If you type that line using Word, a red squiggly mark will appear underneath untrustable telling you it’s not a word. She is not trustworthy, is what the pundit should have said.
People seem to have a hard time communicating the concept of trustworthiness.
After Deflategate, a sports marketer said about New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, We’ve seen a falloff of his appeal and trust level. Did he think this awkward and vague wording would be less harsh than, say, We’ve seen a decline in his appeal and trustworthiness or People now find him less appealing and trustworthy?
A colleague wrote that his company’s goal is to build trust and communicate our message clearly with our potential clients. Like trust level in the Brady example, build trust is an abstract phrase that hangs out there in limbo, seemingly disconnected from the people who need to do the trusting. I would say his company’s goal is to clearly communicate our message to potential clients and earn their trust.
I have, however, seen some good uses of the word and the concept. In each one, trust is clearly linked to a person—or people.
• You’re a stronger leader and more trustworthy if you can be vulnerable and can show your real personality.
• Marketing experts applauded the company for its transparency about the meeting, but said the company would have to do a lot more to win back the trust of consumers.
• His reemergence represents the opportunity for Mr. Williams to rehabilitate his image and restore the trust he once commanded as head of the country’s No. 1 evening news broadcast.