December 9, 2009

Trust Agent Learnings

Trust Agents

Last week, I finished reading Chris Brogan and Julien Smith’s highly touted book, Trust Agents.

We’ve all witnessed the continued adoption of the Web as a crucial communications tool. What continues to lag behind in the PR/Marketing world is thorough understanding of how human communications patterns and relationships translate to the Web.

Anyone who majored in communications in college was likely required to take either an interpersonal communications or public speaking course. Professors in either of these courses likely harped the importance of nonverbal communication. Most studies show that humans typically base 70-80% of communication with one another on nonverbal cues. This obviously becomes an issue with the Web being a primarily text-driven medium.

Becoming an effective online communicator seems pretty simple – just be human. Unfortunately, this is much easier said than done when you throw brands into the mix. Too often, companies assume the Web is broadcast-only medium and issue template language to protect their brand. In other cases, tempers flare and messages are misconstrued through emails – the list goes on and on. Without the luxury of nonverbal cues and direct human contact, one needs to adapt and be smart to come across as desired online. What’s the key to making this happen?

Building Trust.

Chris and Julien do a superb job of outlining how the Web can be a crucial leverage tool along with the host of key traits that make people stand out as effective online communications pros. To summarize a few of Chris and Julien’s overarching tips:

  • Create Your Space – It’s crowded online and to stand out, you need to bring your ideas and personality to life and be willing to experiment and try something new.
  • Belong – You need to be involved and connecting with your audience. It’s unlikely that people will haphazardly find you. Instead, you need to be willing to devote the time and effort to become a trusted member of your desired community.
  • The Web is Powerful – The Web is your access point to creating leverage and actionable results. Take advantage and build your base.
  • Be a Resource – In order to make the Web work to your advantage, you need to put in the time and energy to helping others first. We’re human – we like to have help and to reciprocate when helped.
  • Know People – We’re dynamic, complicated beings. As such, earn other people’s trust by knowing when to assist with other people’s weaknesses and bolster their strengths.
  • You Need Help – Success is driven through collaboration and the social Web is your tool to put that network in place.

I’ll end by saying that this book is well, well  worth they hype. An easy, relatively short read that is broken down with logical tips and action reminders, it’s a shoe-in for the perfect gift for your co-workers or clients. OR a perfect distraction from that inevitable holiday flight delay.


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Join the conversation! 1 Comment

  1. […] personal relationships (if you doubt this in the slightest, give Chris Brogan’s Trust Agents a read). When you develop a reputation as a trustworthy person, things will begin to snowball on […]


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Book Reviews, Online Marketing


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