From the Mediation Matters Blog of Steve Mehta.
Would you like to know of some magic words that will help people who hear your message to trust you? Well if that is something that interests you, then you need to read further, because I will show you that there are certain words that can help people who receive your message to increase trust in the message. You can trust me to show you these words.
Researchers found that placing the following statement at the end of an ad for a auto service firm caused their trust scores to jump as much as 33%.
“You can trust us to do the job for you.”
It is interesting, this phrase does not promise anything special, except that the job will done. Perhaps by not overpromising, the phrase engenders trust because it is sincere and achievable. According to the research, that phrase caused people to rate the firm in the ad higher in every category:
Fair Price – Up 7%
Caring – Up 11%
Fair Treatment – Up 20%
Quality – Up 30%
Competency – Up 33%
As is shown above, the highest increase was in belief of competency, simply by saying those ten magic words. This study is quite revealing and reminds me of the another study that asked to cut to the front of the line, and then changed the request by simply adding to the request that the person wanted to cut to the front of the line BECAUSE they needed to get done faster. In that study, simply by using the term “because” the subjects were more willing to allow the experimenter to go to the front of the line.
This study shows that simple words have great power. As a mediator or negotiator, you should choose those words carefully. If you seek to endear trust, you might consider using phrases that show that you can be trusted such as “you can trust me to make sure that I will negotiate the best deal for you,” or “You can trust me to work to make the best possible deal.” A negotiator might say to her opposing counsel, “you can trust me to present your best case to my client to see if we can come to a mutually amicable agreement.”
Nevertheless, when negotiating, consider the words that you use, because you never know they have more force and effect than you think.
Journal of Advertising,
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