Building Trust in the “Room”
In our interview with Jim Baty of the Concrete Foundations Association of North America we discussed the crisis in the industry that allowed for his association to leverage the collective voice, harmonize a response, and gain ground for members facing severe supply shortages. To build that voice in the first place it required trust, not only with the members but with the broader community they needed to engage with in order to create change.
Jim called out three integral ingredients in creating trust in the “room”, whether that be a physical room where people are gathered in person, as used to be typical for industry associations, or the proverbial rooms of webinars, Zoom, and social media that now dominate our communications. Let’s dig a little deeper into each of these ingredients.
- Patience and persistence: Building an audience takes time, let alone the persistence you must pursue your audience with to truly engage and gain their trust. Through trial and error, associations must be willing to seek members out where they are, help guide them to where your activity lives most of the time, and then create meaningful interactions that lead to trust.
- Lack of emotion: This should be an easy one, yet a lot of marketing and communication professionals even get this wrong. Emotion should not be confused with enthusiasm. An association can be enthusiastic about the industry it serves, the individual members it works with, or even the industry stance on topics, regulatory and otherwise, but it should never react out of emotion.
- Intuition and intent: Choosing to look deeper into intent will often settle emotions quicker than a pithy response. Utilizing emotional intelligence to intuit where someone is coming from or even offering optimistic assumptions about their intent can allow the breathing room you need to build trust, signaling that your organization is a safe place for discussion.
As more and more business activity moves into a hybrid environment through the Recovery 2021 period, it is important to remember these three ways to create trust with your constituents. Take your time to learn about, feed, and grow your relationships with your members. Be excited, fervent, and convicted about important topics but refrain from assigning emotions like anger, fear, or even sadness. And finally, find grace when listening to others, look for intent and then respond.
In our next 6 Degrees of Associations conversation, we meet Joan “JT” Tezak with the Colorado Society of Association Executives. Join us to learn how their organization built upon these very “trust ingredients” to connect with members and build a stickier association.