embrace criticism

The Battle for Trust

To win public issues and policy debates, you need more than good facts. You need to battle for trust to win over supporters and overwhelm opponents.Issue managers must do more than dispense facts. They must battle for trust.

Widespread skepticism is one of the biggest handicaps in trying to manage a public issue. You may have all the facts and figures, but if neighbors, community activists and even policymakers don't believe they are true, you are nowhere. 

There is no formula for building trust, but there are some tried and true principles in the battle for trust. Here are some of them: 

Tell Your Story — the Whole Story

You need to tell your story, but you gain credibility by telling the whole story. Better to hear it all — good and bad — from you than from your opponents.

Telling the whole story won't automatically build trust, but it establishes you are trustworthy, which is a very good beginning in the battle for trust.

Be Proactive, Don't Wait