Building Relationships by Sharing Stories

Updated: Apr 29

Written by Vanessa Barajas, Program Coordinator at Work2Live

Did you know sharing personal stories and getting to know someone more intimately at work is a great way of establishing trust? It can lead to transparency and better communication among teams. When it comes to building trust with clients/customers and within teams, warmth is a key element to success. The idea of “warmth” is often misperceived though. Warmth isn’t about smiling more or being agreeable. Rather, projecting warmth means that you’re able to show someone that you share their goals or values. To connect on a human level, willingness to express emotion and vulnerability are paramount.

Share a bit of yourself so your clients and teammates see you as a real person, not just someone who fills a role. People may admire your intellect, appreciate your experience and rely on your expertise; however, they will trust you when they connect to your humanity, the part of you that lies beyond your professional skills. Yes, it can be awkward and scary to share something personal, so why take the risk? For the opportunity to forge a bond of trust and a deep, authentic connection.

By showing your vulnerability, you demonstrate the courage to be a whole person. Most of us do our best to compartmentalize the different aspects of our lives, but the truth is, compartmentalization creates isolation, and we end up isolating ourselves with our challenges. You may not feel supported or deeply connected with other team members because they don’t have a clue what’s going on with you. In isolation, we're kept from the support and connection that our team members can offer us.

What’s amazing is how listening to someone’s story often replaces the old version of the story you may have told yourself or made up about that person. It’s human nature to fill in the blanks. We bring closure to things that are open because we dislike uncertainty. Although this survival skill is useful in certain circumstances, it is harmful when you are trying to build relationships and trust with coworkers. To truly connect, you need the real sto