Imagine the scenario. A dark auditorium with approximately 200 people. From the stage I could see white light from people’s phones lighting up their faces; I could see the green safety lights on the exit doors; I could sense the anticipation and general warmth from the audience.
I was giving a talk to female entrepreneurs and global business and I began with one stark question: do you trust me?
Immediately I could sense but not see much of the audience ease back in to their seats and I could almost hear their minds trying to compute how honest they should be. I asked the question a second time and for people to raise their hands if they did or did not trust me. From my perspective I could see that two-thirds of the audience trusted me. I was intrigued by both sets of responses and called out to the audience to shout out their responses. I heard “I don’t trust you because I don’t know who you are”, “I haven’t worked with you”, “I trust you because I trust everyone”, “You have qualifications and Awards”.
We all laughed and I commented that in the next 40 minutes my aim was to gain their trust and I was going to do this by revealing three entwined aspects of who I am.
The first was values and my work in the UK legal system. I commented on my biases and how I have to train my brain to rethink some outdated assumptions. The second aspect, behaviour, was how I make women happy through my fashion atelier and how ‘enclothed cognition’ – how you think and behave when wearing Semple clothes – affects how we perceive ourselves. Decision-making was my third aspect and I described my work with senior leaders in global organisations examining how they individually and collectively make decisions and the consequences of them.
I paused and asked my question again. I sensed that this time people sat forward in their seats and on my phone I could see that they were using social media to answer my question. I think I achieved 100% positive!