You already know a lot about factors that increase and decrease people's trustworthiness. This is because ever since you were a baby, you have learned through experience who to trust and who to distrust. This activity asks you to think about six people and decide why you trust or distrust them.
Participants work individually, with a partner, and in teams to prepare a list of dos and don'ts for increasing their trustworthiness. Eventually, each participant selects a trust factor that he or she wants to apply immediately.
To identify and apply factors that increase and decrease people's trustworthiness.
Best: 15 to 30
20 to 45 minutes
- Countdown timer
- Sheets of flipchart paper
- Felt-tipped pens
- Masking tape
Ask the participants to select three people. Tell the participants that they are going to undertake a thought experiment. Ask each participant to think of three people they trust very much: One of them should be a public figure, one should be a friend or a family member, and one should be a person from the workplace. Inform the participants that they do not have to reveal the identity of these people to anyone else.
Ask the participants to identify trust factors. Invite the participants to think what makes them trust these three people very much. Ask them to make a list of the trust factors on a piece of paper. Point out that some of these trust factors could be common to all three or they could be specific to one or two of the selected people. Announce a 3-minute time limit for this activity.
Ask the participants to select three other people. This time, tell the participants to select three people they distrust the most. One of these should be a public figure they do not trust at all, another should be a friend or a family member, and the third one should be a person from their workplace. Once again, reassure the participants that they do not have to reveal the identity of these people.
Ask the participants to identify the distrust factors. Invite the participants to think about what makes them distrust one or more of the selected people. Ask them to make a list of these factors on a piece of paper. Announce a 3-minute time limit for completing this task.
Distribute playing cards. Give a random playing card to each participant. Make sure to distribute equal numbers of black and red cards. (If you have an odd number of participants, you may give one more card of either red or black color.)
Pair up with a partner. Ask the participants to pair up with someone who has a card of the different color. If one participant is left over, ask him or her to pair up with you.
Discuss trust and distrust factors with the partner. Ask the participants to share the trust factors they had identified in the first thought experiment. Ask them also to discuss the distrust factors. Announce a 3-minute time limit for this activity.
Form a team. Blow a whistle at the end of 3 minutes. Ask the participants to say “Goodbye” to their partners and to form a team of three to five people who have playing cards of the same color (red or black).
List Dos and Don'ts. Distribute a sheet of flipchart paper and a felt-tipped pen to each team. Instruct the team members to share their ideas and to prepare a two-column poster with a list of dos and don'ts for increasing trust level. Announce a 5-minute time limit for this activity.
Review lists from other teams. Blow the whistle at the end of 5 minutes. Ask the teams to attach their posters to the wall with pieces of masking tape. Invite the participants to review the posters from the other teams to discover common items and unique ones. Announce a 3-minute time limit.
Discuss the items from the posters. At the end of 3 minutes, blow the whistle and assemble the participants for a debriefing discussion. Conduct this discussion by asking questions similar to these:
- Which trust factor appeared in most posters?
- Which trust factor is unique to a single poster?
- Which trust factor is most frequently neglected in your workplace?
- Which factor can produce the most increase in the trust level?
Prepare an action plan. Invite each participant to individually select one of the trust factors for immediate action. Ask the participants to prepare a plan for applying this trust factor to increase their trustworthiness. If time permits, ask the participants to pair up with a new partner and share their application ideas.