Consulting

What changes in your organisation would create the greatest advantage for you?

Recruitment

The cost of getting the selection wrong could be as high as seven times the annual salary, if not more

Coach or Train

What skills do your people need to make the greatest sustainable improvement?

COKE to build trust

COKE to build trust

Communication as part of any relationship, whether one-on-one or one-to-group relies on trust. Trust is fragile and dynamic; it can take time to develop and be lost in an instant. Once lost some say it is like a cracked mirror, it can be repaired but the cracks will remain forever.

Whenever you need to build trust with an individual or a group remember this acronym, C.O.K.E. I have found this a useful tool to structure my openings as a facilitator with client groups, in emails, letters and initial rapport building conversations.

C = Commitment
O = Openness
K = Knowledge
E = Empathy

Commitment is to the subject area you specialise in, to the people or individuals in front of you and their objectives

For example I might start of by saying

I am dedicated to you getting the most from this event, even if that means adjusting the agenda and the elements we emphasize today...

Openness is about being approachable, happy to field questions and clear about the ground rules you operate with.

For examples I might continue along these lines

...Please feel free to raise a question at any stage for an open discussion or catch me during one of the break if you wish to raise the question privately...

Knowledge is able clarifying your experience and insights into the subject/topic for discussion to establish your credibility.

So I might add

...Engaging everyone the works for an organisation through strategic internal communication has been a passion and a business for me over the last seven years...

Empathy is probably the most important of the four parts to this acronym and concerns you getting on the same wavelength as the group or individual in front of you, making connections and building warmth.

So I might finish with

...Seven years ago, I sat where you sat, probably thinking similar things: Can you really control the logistics of how a message cascades through large numbers and at the same time allow for an exchange of meaning?...

There is a fine line between saying too much and saying too little, between preparing too much in advance and not preparing enough, so I find structures like C.O.K.E. help enormously because I can hold onto that as the skeleton and adapt or build the words around it as I get a feel for the group.

Of course in true communication style, they best way by far to build trust is to ask a meaningful elaborative question in a respectful way and then shut up and listen...

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