Do You Demonstrate the Most Desired Interpersonal Character Trait?

What qualities do we desire most in other people — the ones we work with, buy from, socialize with, and even casually encounter at the bus stop?

Here are some possibilities: sincerity, intelligence, extraversion, attractiveness, assertiveness, honesty, thoughtfulness, empathy, vitality. You get the idea.

So which characteristic is most important?
In a series of three studies described in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology1, researchers examined this question and came to the same conclusion each time:

Trustworthiness is the top trait people desire in others with whom they interact. Whether the relationship is with an employee, a project team member, a sports team, a family member, or even a casual acquaintance, this trait is by far the most desired in any type of relationship.

Credibility is based on trust. 
When you share important ideas with an executive, a fellow project team member, or a potential buyer, you need to be a persuasive, credible presenter. Simply put, your listener (and not you) determines whether or not your communication is persuasive, and they do it by answering three questions:

  1. Do I UNDERSTAND what is being said?
  2. Do I see the VALUE for me personally and for my organization?
  3. Do I TRUST this person to do what he or she says they will do?

Here’s the bottom line: even if your audience understands and sees value in your ideas, you’ll fail to persuade if they don’t see you as a trustworthy messenger.

So, when you’re considering ways to improve your effectiveness (and that of your team), ask yourself: “Are we presenting our ideas with credibility built on a foundation of trustworthiness?”

Want to find out more about what it takes to be a credible — and trustworthy — presenter?

Learn about Mandel’s corporate presentation training program: The Extraordinary PresenterTM


1   Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition

Picture of David Mears

David Mears

Formerly Chief Sales Officer at Mandel, David was responsible for the organization’s sales growth, as well as for key strategic global accounts. He is an expert in sales strategy development and execution and regularly consults with Fortune 500 companies about their sales strategy design and execution plans. Prior to his work with Mandel, David was an executive team member at BayGroup International, where he was involved in both internal and client-facing strategic project work. David has also held senior roles with Learning International.
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