Then there's Integrity – you demonstrate that you share particular values with the other person. They really value honesty and frank speaking, say. You do too. So they trust you to give your honest and frank opinion, even if they might not be thrilled at what they hear.
Next comes Benevolence – you indicate that you care about the other person. Which means you consider their welfare, feelings and needs when you make decisions that might affect them. And they trust that you’ll look out for them and their interests.
And last but not least is Competence – you demonstrate that you can do something to a certain level. For example, if you consistently complete work on time and to the required standard – or higher – you’ll be trusted with more of it and/or more responsibility.
Taking the opportunity to practise one or more of these elements on the small, everyday stuff means that if and when the big stuff comes up, that foundation of trust will already be in place and could actually prevent a crisis from developing at all. But if a crisis does develop, they’ll certainly make the challenges it brings much easier to handle – whichever table you’re at.
And remember – what might look like ‘small stuff’ to you could be very big stuff indeed to the other person or the other side. You might think that breaking a small promise is insignificant – ‘No one died’ – but they might take it as a sign of fundamental unreliability, or not caring, or disrespect. Maybe even all three.
So if you’re seeking to build trust, when in doubt go the extra mile. Advice that might be too late for the Brexit negotiation – but it needn’t be for you.