“Anyone who trusts can be hurt. But those who do not trust hurt themselves,” says German economic psychologist Eva Schulte-Austum. She went on a trip through nine countries and held between 400 and 500 interviews with business experts and researchers as well as normal average customers. Her project is calles “World Trust Project” and its’ mission was to find out what trust really is and why we trust. All results are also summarized in her first book which was launched las year under the title “Everyone can trust” (German: Jeder kann Vertrauen).
Eva Schulte-Austum knows that distrust is a widespread phenomenon. Everyone knows mistrust as this uncomfortable feeling ringing the warning bell when something or someone seems not trustworthy to us. Depending on how and where we grew up, whether the environment conveyed trust or mistrust towards others or what experiences we had in life decides whether we spontaneously tend to trust or distrust more. If this warning bell sounds the alarm too often, we like to stand in our own way with our distrust, we then miss opportunities and feel worries where they would not be necessary. The positive news that Eva Schulte-Austum passionately spreads is, thank God: Everyone can learn to trust (again)!
Eva Schulte-Austum’s definition after her exciting journey through all different cultures is this: “I share something with someone, I give up responsibility and control, and I assume that the other person will not use it against me.”
It is important to her to emphasize that it is not at all about blindly trusting someone. On the contrary, it’s about carefully considering whether the other person is trustworthy – or not. As part of her trip for the World Trust Project, Eva Schulte-Austum heard some recurring arguments across all countries and cultures that determine whether we trust someone. For example, we tend to trust someone when he/she does not talk badly about others and shows honesty and commitment.
Now, why is it that trust is so important for Eva Schulte-Austum? She explains it like this: Research shows that trustworthy people are not only more successful in their jobs, but also happier and more content in their lives. On the one hand, Eva Schulte-Austum, as a business psychologist, wants to understand why these trustworthy people go through life more easily than others. On the other hand, she wants to derive from these results what others can learn from these people. In her exciting lectures, she exposes trust traps and shows how we can overcome a “hangover” after disappointments. She gives practical tips on how everyone can manage relationships in which we feel safe and supported.
As Germany’s leading trust expert, she is the likeable shooting star among the keynote speakers and has already become a crowd puller. Her lecture topics include, among other things, how to delight customers with trust and thereby increase sales, how to gain trust and also maintain good relationships in the work environment or why everything would remain the same in New Work without trust. Listen to your gut feeling!
As an exception, you can trust Eva Schulte-Austum blindly.