By Tom Unger, Oregon Chapter Volunteer Coordinator and past chapter president, ABC, APR, Fellow PRSA
I had not thought about it much before but when I was asked to speak to a bank’s communications team in Texas recently, I had to reflect on my career and the four regional presidents I served.
The Texas bankers requested I speak about how to earn the trust of senior executives. I certainly had a lot of experience doing that during my lengthy corporate communications career. But I had never sat down before to examine the strategies I had incorporated to earn that sacred trust.
After thinking about it for weeks, I developed 10 keys to earning trust. Here are four of them:
- Courage – A communicator sees issues from a viewpoint that differs vastly from most senior executives. We worry about reputation risk and image while senior execs focus on budget items and bottom-line results. When you see your organization about to make a move that could potentially harm its reputation, you need to have the courage to speak up.
- Hard Work – Most senior executives reached their current position by working hard. They show up to the office during the week. At night they’re typically representing their organization at community events and on the weekends they’re volunteering. It’s not a job. It’s not a career. It’s a way of life for them. To earn their trust, you need to match their effort.
- Results – You need to produce results that matter. It’s fine to work hard and have courage. But if all your efforts don’t produce tangible, measurable results, it’s difficult to win the trust of senior executives who, after all, focus on results.
- Goals – You need to forget about your own goals and focus on your senior executives’ goals. What are they trying to achieve? What are their challenges? Figure those out and then determine how you can use your communication skills to help them reach their goals.
Want to learn about the other six keys I developed? Contact me to schedule a workshop for your employees. I’m happy to share my 40+ years of knowledge and experience. You can reach me at (503) 213-0327 or email@example.com.