A key aspect in providing security services is to gain the trust of the community you serve. Whether you are staffing a post, or providing preventative patrol services, it is important to make time to interact with the community you serve in a positive way. Here are a few tips to gaining community trust:
1. Courtesy - More than likely your parents emphasized the importance of courtesy at different times during your life. Being courteous with those you are protecting is a critical to gaining their confidence and trust. The simple lessons such as; addressing others as "sir" or "ma'am"; being friendly when dealing with difficult individuals (my grandmother called this "killing with kindness"), and, being respectful at all times will do the most in gaining trust. If you are courteous in your first contact with someone, you have increased the chances they will call upon you when they witness a suspicious act because you have established yourself as being approachable.
2. Be an active listener - Whether you are in a cordial encounter or are investigating an incident, make sure that you are an active listener. Don't cut people off, fail to maintain eye-to-eye contact, or roll your eyes when they are relating an incident to you. One key method to being an active listener is to paraphrase what they have said to you. This shows the individual that you understand what they are trying to convey to you, that you listened, and the individual feels you are being respectful.
3. "If you say you will then do it" - the most important aspect of gaining trust is following through on promises of action. If you tell someone you will do something then make a point to carry it out promptly. Set a deadline and offer to follow-up with them as to the results. Following this simple principle will quickly gain another's respect even when the results may not be what they wanted.
The benefits to gaining your communities trust are numerous. They will alert you to potential problems, be supportive when you are dealing with difficult circumstances, and it will reduce your stress, making your work more enjoyable. Work each day to gain the trust of your community with these three simple steps.
Member of the Guardstar Academy Staff. All Guardstar Academy staff are experienced law enforcement, security professionals and/or private investigators.