Let’s assume that you’ve already got the basics of being the Trusted Authority down pat. You’re being authentic to what you are and you’re working on building trust with the people you interact with so that they can see you as the Trusted Authority without feeling like they’re kidding themselves. You have credibility, you have an attitude that centers on serving others and you’ve put a lot of work into the Trust Factor. Now, you have to go ahead and get the word out there. Part of what it takes to become the Trusted Authority is to make people understand what you really offer!
The Frame and the Picture
Get an image of any famous work of art hanging in a museum. Take a close look at it. Pick something you like so that you’ll find it truly engaging. Now, ask yourself, did you even look at the frame? Do you care that the frame may be incredibly beautiful and that it may actually be the perfect vehicle for showing that art? Probably not. If you think about, that means that the frame maker was the Trusted Authority in making frames. There’s a simple concept behind this.
The frame maker made something that gave you want you wanted; a great presentation for the art. What they did in terms of work really didn’t matter but you’d know that, if you needed to hang a Picasso or a Dali, that you’d probably want the frame maker to be the same person who framed that artwork for museums. They’re the Trusted Authority in this matter.
How you frame something has a more metaphorical meaning than this, however. When you talk to people about what you do, dispense with the self-congratulatory talk. You don’t want to tell them something like “I make millions on the stock markets” or “I dominate the region for new housing construction”. The Trusted Authority would frame it in a way that helped people understand that what you do is about serving others. “I help people manage their money and make a profit by investing” or “I help architects and developers get their houses built right”. This tells people that there’s something more to what you do than self-interest. It tells them that you really do have a commitment to helping others and that is a huge part of building trust.
The Trusted Authority is a person who is trusted because they have earned that trust. The Trusted Authority cares that their work is done right and that their clients get what they want. They also understand that, when they describe what they have to offer, that they need to put it in a way that makes it apparent that what they do is about serving others and not about serving themselves. This lets people know that, when they want the Trusted Authority for something that you’re great at, they should come to you before they go to anyone else, particularly if they want to make sure they’ll get something out of it!