The Attention and Trust Engine – Fueled by Generosity

“The question I would ask the entrepreneur, the freelancer, the consultant, is: ‘Do more people trust you and pay attention to you today than six months ago, and what are you going to do between today and six months from now, that is going to radically change the number of people, and how deeply they pay attention and trust you?’”
– Seth Godin

Have you watched Bohemian Rhapsody? It is a fantastic movie about Freddie Mercury and Queen. For Freddie Mercury to rise to iconic status he had to go through a number of Attention/Trust phases.

1. Freddie had to get the attention and then trust of the band.

2. The band signed their first management deal with Trident Studios after coming to the attention of John Anthony.

3. They released their first studio album which got the attention of the critics, e.g. Gordon Fletcher of the Rolling Stone.

Queen went from strength to strength to become one of the most iconic bands of all time.

I was recently introduced to the Attention and Trust relationship. Seth Godin talked about it in his fantastic interview on the Tim Ferriss podcast. By the way, I wrote a blog covering the contents of this podcast that can be found here.

The role of trust

Almost everything in life revolves around trust. We trust that our spouse is not going to have an affair or go on wild spending sprees. We trust that our bank is going to look after our money and that our retirement fund is being managed well. We even trust instinctively that a chair is going to hold our weight.

Trust is vital in every personal and business relationship. Before we buy a product or service there needs to a level of trust developed with the seller.

So how does a person win the trust of another? In brief – being reliable, honest, open and showing integrity.

The first step to trust

How does someone trust you if they don’t know you? The first step is to get their attention.

The only way a person is going to get noticed is if you make a concerted effort to gain their attention. I often wish that one day someone “important” will come across me but, experience has taught me that this very rarely happens, and until you are famous, there needs to a plan of how to get noticed.

The question therefore is how do you gain someone’s attention?

Generosity the key to gaining attention

Let’s say you are a manager at work and one of your employees volunteers to work over the weekend on an important proposal. Straight away that employee would get your attention. You would start to notice his work and the trust would start to build.

The employee in this situation was generous with his time and went beyond what he was paid for to work on the weekend.

Another way of looking at it is to add value to people you want to get the attention of. You can generously use your time to send them something that they will value.

The generosity – attention – trust flow

The flow is illustrated in the following diagram.

If you would like to gain the trust of someone important then get their attention. You can get their attention by going out of your way to be of value to them by being generous. The more positive attention you gain from someone the more trust will build.

Action plan

Here is the action plan that I am trying to follow.

1. What are my goals?

2. Are there people that will aid me in attaining these goals? I write down their names.

3. How can I gain their attention? Is there value that I can provide to them that will attract their attention?

4. What is the trust level with these people? How can I enhance this trust?

Do you follow something similar? Do you have a structured engagement plan for those people whose trust you want to win?

I hope you found this of value. It certainly opened my ideas and made me think differently about how I engage people and build relationships.

I am always interested in your comments. Please leave me a comment or email me at To read my past blogs please visit my website at

The views expressed in this blog are my own and don’t necessarily represent the views of the company I work for.

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