Governments Are Increasingly Censoring the Internet

censoring the internetTransparency is always important when it comes to building trust. For the past 4 years transparency advocate groups have praised Google for reporting when world governments ask for a certain websites to be taken down or blocked. While these reports may be beneficial, they are often difficult and boring to read. Designer Sebastian Sadowski created a visualization chart that made it easy to read and compare Google’s transparency reports for different countries. The results of the charts show that governments worldwide are censoring the Internet more than in previous years.

Click the link below to see the charts and read the detailed article by Betsy Isaacson from the Huffington Post:

Survey: 98% of Americans Don’t Trust the Internet

trust the internetErica Ho discusses a study that was conducted by Harris Interactive in her article, ‘Almost Everyone Doesn’t Trust the Internet’. According to this study, almost everyone has something that they discredit about the internet. Out of 1,900 Americans surveyed, 94% worried about bad things happening online while 54% didn’t trust the information they read. 53% believed that what they read was self-promotional.

Read more about this study:

Communication and Trust Part Two: Body Language Speaks Volumes

body language

Body Language Speaks Volumes
(photo by Glenn Loos-Austin)

The other day I posted about communication and trust (click to read Part One) and discussed how certain phrases can build or destroy trust. It’s true that the words you say make a huge impact on how you are perceived, but it’s not the only thing that matters. Your body language must be congruent with your words to really convey an aspect of caring and trust. In fact, your body language might actually trump your words when it comes to establishing trust.

If you want to build trust and rapport with your customers, try using these body language tips along with sincere words to show them that you are listening and that you truly care.

4 Ways Body Language Can Build Trust

Establish Natural Eye Contact— Eye contact engages the customer and shows that you are actively listening. It creates a connection and makes them feel that they are important.

Once I did business with a professional that had difficulty maintaining eye contact. At times it made me question his confidence. I gave him the benefit of the doubt and things turned out well, but his lack of eye contact did make me wonder.

Although maintaining eye contact is important, you don’t want to give your customers the feeling that you are staring them down. If you feel that your eye contact feels unnatural or uncomfortable, glance away for a moment and then resume eye contact to let them know you are still engaged.

body language

What is this boy saying?

Use Welcoming Gestures— Hand and arm gestures help you drive a specific point. Wide arm gestures with open hands and palms facing up elicit a sense of acceptance and welcoming. It works well with groups or in one-on-one settings. If your arms are folded, you might signify boredom and pointing your index finger almost always conveys anger or disappointment.

Make Distance Work For You–Close proximity induces intimacy. Of course you don’t want to be so close that you invade personal space, but by closing the distance you can show your customers that you care. Even something as simple as leaning forward a few inches or choosing to sit closer rather than across the room can make a big difference.

Facial Expressions— Your facial expressions go hand-in-hand with eye contact. Are you smiling? Are you smirking or look arrogant? Do you have a pleasant look on your face or do you look tired and bored?  One thing to beware of is yawning. A yawn instantly closes the connection and says that you are not interested in the person or what they are saying.

Most people do not automatically have perfect body language. It is a skill–something that takes practice. Try watching your facial expressions in a mirror and obtain feedback from trusted friends to find ways that you can improve your body language.

Communication and Trust Part One: 4 Words that Build Trust

communication and trust

photo by

Have you ever had a situation where someone relayed information to you and you knew instantly that they were a salesman, even though they weren’t actually trying to sell you something?

How did you respond?

I usually tune them out.

People do not like to be “sold to” and they don’t buy your product, services or your sales pitch. They buy you. The words and body language that you use can make a big difference in whether clients trust you and are willing to hear what you have to say. If you’re not careful, they could write you off before you’ve even begun.

Sincerity is the key. If you come off unnatural or think that your job is to get them to buy something, even if they don’t want or need it, you’ve already lost the battle.

Trust is about relationships and if people do not trust you, it is likely they will not buy from you. Some words build trust and others destroy it.

“Trust me”

One might think that using these two words would build trust, but in reality they cause doubt.

I remember teaching a client. I wanted her to believe me so I’d say things like, “I know this works,” or “This is true.” My words had the opposite effect. She felt like I was trying to convince her instead of letting her decide for herself.

That is what happens when you say the words “trust me”. It’s a contradiction and a command. You are telling them how to feel. Trust is something people offer you, not something you can demand. It’s something you earn and the best way to earn it is to listen.

“Tell me more, please”

communication and trust

photo by SalFalko

One of the biggest sins in sales is offering a solution before you’ve even heard the problem, which essentially tells your clients that you don’t care about their situation or needs. It shows them that you really only care about yourself.

There is a popular saying: I don’t care how much you know until I know how much you care.

By using the words, “Tell me more, please,” you are letting them set the tone and the agenda of the meeting. You show them that you really care about them and their needs. Once you have listened, then you can offer solutions that will help them fulfill those needs. These four words, when sincerely spoken and followed up with action, will build trust faster than anything else you could say.

Stay Tuned for Communication and Trust Part 2: Body Language Speaks Volumes

Tell us what you think? Have you had any experiences with communication and trust?



Taking Risk is the Key to Building Trust

TRUST—lack of trust is a big issue it today’s society, especially when it comes to business. Because of this, many businesses make building trust a priority.

RISK—it’s a four letter word in the business world. And most companies spend a lot of time and effort determining how much they can get with as little risk as possible.

The problem is, as much as companies want trusting relationships with their customers, most of them have policies and procedures in place that actually dissolves trust instead of builds it.

The key to building trust is the one thing that businesses try to avoid–RISK. But risk is a necessary component of trust and trust is a necessary component of relationships. The most successful businesses have a true relationship with their customers.

building trust

photo by jurveston

Building relationships always requires some sort of risk. You go to a conference and see someone who is an expert in your field. You want to meet them so you walk up to them and extend your hand in greeting. “Hi, my name is…”

You are making a risk. You are putting your trust in the fact that this person will want to make your acquaintance. Chances are they will receive your greeting and reciprocate, but in reality you have no control over their reaction. They might spurn you. Not likely, but they could.

Trust consists of two entities–The Truster and The Trustee.  The truster takes a small risk by placing their trust in the hands of another. The trustee accepts the truster’s offering. If the exchange is positive, trust is born.

It’s like listening to a new song. You take the risk to try it out and the first time you hear it, you might think it’s interesting or catchy. You have a positive experience. So you listen to it again, and again. Soon it becomes your favorite song. It’s the same thing with trust. The more positive, trusting experiences you have, the stronger your trust will be.

Failure to take these small risks will guarantee an absence of trust.

Recently I went to a job interview and they asked me to tell them two positive things about me and one weakness. No one likes to discuss their weaknesses and often it’s considered risky. I made the choice to be candid about a weakness that could affect my performance as an employee. Yes, I was uncomfortable. But because I discussed this weakness, I could visibly see that I had gained trust with my perspective employer. Does it mean I’ll get the job? Maybe, maybe not. That’s the risk I took. I did, however, gain trust.

Trust takes time. We’re looking for long term, trusting relationships, not short term fix-its. If you are having difficulty building trust…become the truster. Take the first step. Trust your clients, your employees, your shareholders and stakeholders, your suppliers…it might be risky, but by taking the small-risks in the beginning you can avoid larger risks in the future.

building trust

Now it’s your turn to share, make a comment and let us know what risks you have taken to build trust.

Grunt (Dot) Com Finds Winning Trust Mark Increases Website Conversion

This is an interesting press release from Trust Guard, a company that specializes in Trust Seals

Grunt (Dot) Com runs split test comparing Trust Guard and McAfee Secure to determine which website security company best suited their needs.

Ogden, Utah (PRWEB) May 24, 2013

As the  premier  source for Marines to get gear, share stories, find buddies, and carry on the traditions of this great brotherhood,, recently ran an A-B-C split test comparing  the top two online security companies head to head. The split-test was conducted to statistically analyze which security company would use for their website.

“We decided to test Trust Guard against McAfee Secure due to the potential cost-savings of switching.  We started a split test using the two different seals and a version without a seal.  The conversion rates fluctuated through the test and we quit the test early with Trust Guard ahead of the other two.  We were satisfied that the conversion rate was at least as good as McAfee SECURE and for 1/8th the price,” said Caleb Glave, SGT Grit Marine Specialties,

Trust, a well-known and important factor in running a successful business is the reason that Trust Guard believes that having third-party-verification is so important and so much more profitable.

“We know from years of experience in the business, and from extensive research, that having a safe website,  especially one that’s been scanned,has huge benefits. Your visitors will know that your website is safe when it displays a trust mark or seal by Trust Guard. Visitors, who feel safe, tend to stay on your site longer, and more of them become customers. As a result your conversion rate goes up and you make more sales.  Being able to do that at a fraction of the cost is just an added bonus,” added Trust Guard’s CMO Cresta Pillsbury.

About Trust Guard Certification Seals

Trust Guard Seals or marks help satisfy your customer’s security, privacy, and business identity concerns in a way that no one else can, so website owners make approximately 9-15% more sales.The Trust Guard PCI Security Scan is the first line of defense in protecting you and your customers from hackers and attacks, by actively scanning your website for over 45,400 known vulnerabilities every day (during off peak hours). In addition, we also combine this product with our industry leading 3rd party website verification service for additional credibility.

About SGT Grit Marine Specialties

Sgt Grit began in 1988 with one t-shirt and a strong desire to help Marines. It progressed from being a business run out of the basement of his home, to a 22,500 sq. ft. warehouse and showroom with everything a Marine can imagine. Future goals include adding to the existing warehouse and becoming the primary source for Marines to get gear, share stories, find buddies, and carry on the traditions of this great Brotherhood. Grunt is located in Oklahoma City.

About Trust Guard

Trust Guard, LLC is a division of Global Marketing Strategies LLC. (GMS) – An eCommerce security and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) company with over 15 years of online sales and marketing experience. Trust Guard specializes in Website Security, Privacy, and Business Verification Seals that build customer trust and loyalty, increase online sales, and improve website credibility. Trust Guard also offers PCI Compliant security scanning that checks for over 45,400 vulnerabilities hackers might use to compromise websites. For more test results and website security information, please visit or our YouTube channel with the latest trust mark / logo / seal test.

SGT Grit Marine Specialties* Caleb Glave* Securities Officer

Trust Guard Contact* Cresta Pillsbury* Chief Marketing Officer

What do you think? Have trust seals improved your conversion rates?

Understand Your Customers: How to See the World Through Their Eyes.

With economic downturns and financial scandals, customers have become less loyal and trusting in recent years. They also have more power because of social media, customer diversity, number of choices and the availability of online comparisons. This means business owners have to work harder at gaining and maintaining customers. Instead of business as usual, it is important to understand your customers, see where they’re coming from and what they really need.

understand your customersPaul J. H. Schoemaker, founder and chairman of Decision Strategies International, stated 5 ways that you can better understand your customers and see the world through their eyes.

1–Stand in Your Customer’s Shoes–Look beyond your business and see the full range of choices for your customers. Not only will this help you understand them, but it will also help you understand your competition.

2–Staple Yourself to a Customer’s Order–Walk yourself through your customer’s experience. Start at the very beginning and go through the entire process. Are there any areas where the experience breaks down? This is a common practice used to increase customer service. If you can’t actually walk through the system, try to role playing in order to get a better understanding of the customer’s experience.

3–Field Diverse Customer Teams— One way to understand your customers is to send teams made up of employees that don’t normally associate with customers and put them in direct contact with your customers. This way, they increase support and also get a better understanding of what the customer really wants.

4–Learn Together with Customers— By creating a situation where customers and local executives can learn side by side, you can gain greater understanding and appreciation on both sides of the scale. Consider inviting customers to leadership, innovation or training workshops and conferences, especially those that would be valuable to the customer.

5–Lean Forward and Anticipate–One thing that made businessmen, such as Steve Jobs, so successful is that they could anticipate what their customers’ would want and need in the future. Tools such as scenario planning can give you flexibility and help you anticipate market shifts, thus helping you fill future customer needs and desires.

As you understand your customers and see the world through their eyes, you will be able to learn what they really want and provide for their needs. This will help your business gain the right customers for your business–ones that will be loyal and keep coming back.

Want to Build Trust? Start with Leadership.

LeadershipLeadership is usually considered a strength. Something that all should strive for and those with motivation and drive obtain. Some spend their entire lives climbing the corporate ladder for the prestige attached to leadership positions but in today’s society, it might not be all it’s cracked up to be.

In recent years, stakeholders have lost trust in the leaders of business. According to the 2013 Edelman Trust Barometer, an annual global study, only one in five people trust that a business or government leader will tell the truth or follow a code of ethics when difficult issues arise. Some of the reasons for this include poor performance and recent scandals involving prominent business and government leaders, leading to a perception of unethical behavior.

No longer do titles such as CEO or Executive Vice-President add credibility to the business. In fact, using CEOs in selling situations can actually make the sale more difficult. So if customers don’t turn toward business leadership, who do they turn to?

According to the Trust Barometer, customers place more trust in academics, technical experts, colleagues and peers. This is one of the reasons why content marketing and testimonials have become a more effective marketing strategy.

There has been a change in the way trust is established in a business. In years past, financial performance and having a great workplace environment held a lot of clout. Now stakeholders are more interested in transparency, ethical practices, treating employees well and really listening to customers.

Richard Edelman, the president and CEO of Edelman, the world’s largest PR firm, stated, “Business and governmental leaders must change their management approach and become more inclusive by seeking the input of employees, consumers, activists and experts such as academics, and adapting to their feedback. They must also pass the test of radical transparency.”