How to Genuinely Connect with People

How to Get People to Trust You

We don’t push people away on purpose, but we’re always doing it.

We all need people to trust us:

When people sign up at your studio, when people come to your lessons…

Even when you meet someone.

You don’t want to push people away.

You want people to stay and believe what you’re telling them.

But we’re always pushing people away and we don’t know it; we’re losing tons of friends, students… and money.

“Steinways sound weird”

My mom bought my first acoustic piano, a Yamaha. Most of my mentors had Yamahas too.

When I started performing, I’d already been playing on that piano for about 8 – 9 years.

(That was about the time I “needed” to buy a grand piano.)

My mom and I went around Vancouver’s piano galleries looking for the perfect grand.

I tried every brand there was– Karl Muller, Steinway, you name it– and nothing sounded right. Nothing.

I disliked the touch and sound of some well-known brands. Sometimes I’d even wrinkle my nose, on reflex, when I started playing. (Not kidding.)

I’d gotten so used to the sound of my piano that the second I played something else, it felt off and… wrong.

I kept thinking “This isn’t what my piano should sound like.”

It’s like shopping for shoes (from runners to heels, anyone?), phones, something personal.

The new pianos “pushed me away”– they were too new to me.

I kept trying different pianos, touching keys, so the new sounds started to ‘get better’ to my ears (and I wasn’t so disgusted).

Very few people will touch more than one piano on a daily basis. Much less five different Steinways.

What Happened?

The point is, if you’ve never tried a Steinway, then the first time you play on one will be weird.

… maybe even ‘gross’.

And it’s totally okay. You just need to get used to it.

Every piano is different, and it’ll feel weird if you’re not used to it.

But people aren’t pianos.

If you push a parent away, they’re not going to come back again and again to “get used to” you.

You push people away, they’re not going to stick around.

How do you get someone to trust you the first time?

There are a few ways that work great, and I’ll be sharing one of the right now.

How to get people to trust you


Use better words.

You need to be “close” to everyone.

We don’t realize that we use a lot of useless words and jargon.

Why say “utilize” when you can say “use”?

Instead of long, unneeded words, use shorter, friendlier words. Say “place”, not “destination”.

Short words get your point across much more clearly and quickly.

You’re talking, not writing an essay. Please don’t be a snob.

Psychologist Dr. Hendricks says that people understand short words more easily.

Just look at magazine ads– there are great reasons why those words are so short.

Use short words for a sweet message and people will listen. (Click to tweet this)

How much is ‘too much’?

We’re talking to normal people.

Unless you’re pitching a technical proposal, don’t use long, clunky words.

Those push people away.

Stick to short words, unless it’s a technical term (like dominant seventh). Then you should be asking yourself if you should be mentioning those terms at all.

Most of the time it’s ‘no’. (If you have to ask yourself, then it’s likely a ‘no’.)

By the way, the ‘short words’ that most people understand are Anglo-Saxon words, not Latin or Greek -based words.

See how everything just got more complicated?

If I started off by saying words like “Anglo-Saxon” and “Latin”, you probably wouldn’t have gotten to this point.

Now, think of one clunky word that you use or hear a lot… and share it in your comment below.

P.S. If you know someone who will find this useful, feel free to take 2 seconds to send it to them. They’ll be happy. :)

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8 years ago

I have found a lot of your advice useful, but I must disagree with this one to certain extent. (Many clunky words there. :P) I agree that nothing pushes people away as strongly as showing off with big-words, or talking in a jargon for its sake, but I think it depends completely on your motivation behind using those words. (I hope I’m not already coming off as too snobby or snappy.) I am making this point because I and my friends use all the time those clunky words – because we all are excited about and engaged in such topics… Read more »

8 years ago
Reply to  Grace Lam

I think that idea has a nice ring, but I think that we get the best diversity in language if we don’t cut out words. Instead, we could do the same as you already have done – start using other words occasionally instead and try to avoid overusing any single word.