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Intimacy In The Trust Equation


For most people, it’s more natural to build trust by increasing credibility and reliability. And yet, without intimacy, business transactions are just that – transactions. The “safe haven” experience that is the hallmark of Trusted Advisor relationships is a pipe dream.  Trust research has shown that of the four factors, the one most associated with high trust scores is – Intimacy.

Intimacy exists in the domain of emotions and emotional connectedness. A connected consultant visibly demonstrates both empathy and discretion, which makes it possible for clients to flourish in a comfortable and safe working environment.

Intimacy involves discretion, empathy and personal risk-taking. Intimacy sounds like, “I can trust her with …”

The top 10 factors for trustworthiness that exist under Intimacy are:

  1. Be relentlessly discreet; honor confidentiality
  2. Share and/or ask about something personal
  3. Tell your client something you appreciate about him/her
  4. Send a hand-written note of acknowledgment/thanks
  5. Be willing to show your emotions (elation, frustration, etc)
  6. Ask others about their feelings
  7. Acknowledge uncomfortable situations
  8. Think in advance of how your client is likely to react
  9. Practice different ways of asking difficult questions or making difficult statements before your deliver them
  10. Take responsibility for mistakes
  11. One of the most common failures in building trust is a lack of intimacy. If you need some assistance cultivating Intimacy in your professional life, include the 10 factors listed above into your daily practice. Many people believe that Intimacy takes the longest time to develop among the trust factors. That is not true. If done well, Intimacy is potentially the least time dependent component.