There is so much advice out there – the internet is brilliant but there is so much information and advice, that without some very vigilant self-monitoring, most of us could experience total overwhelm.
I doubt there is anyone out there who has not had their fingers burnt by individuals and companies that promise much but deliver very little.
Whether that was signing up to a programme that promised fabulous information that when you receive it is nothing more than fairly obvious observations with a sales pitch for more, or the fabulous webinar that is all sales pitch and no information.
I absolutely get that webinars should have a sales pitch, there is no such thing as a free lunch after all, but I do feel it needs to be tempered with something useful too.
I feel it is obviously good business not to just give away information, often hard learnt, but the true information star has so much knowledge that giving some away does not distract from the product or service itself, and gives the genuine giver a pretty good feeling of doing something decent for others with no comeback. All hail the philanthropist!
But how can we determine which is which without wasting a good deal of time, and potentially money without causing ourselves deep irritation? Well, the truth is you cannot really, sometimes you just have to take a chance, but which chance to take?
Many of us seem to have lost our own inner guide. Our fear of being taken advantage of can make us overly cynical and miss great opportunities.
But there is good solid guidance out there with people that we can start a relationship with and build something worthwhile and meaningful. Think of Seth Godin, he offers the works; from a thought provoking blog to endless books. If you find you like his style you can follow him, he offers some free initial material, and then go onto buying some of his books.
Or perhaps Sean Malarkey, he is great at churning out useful information on a regular basis on all things Twitter and social media related.
And no, I am not on any kind of ‘kick back’ from either party, just sharing the good ones. They respond to questions and engage with their followers, and I think that is the answer on many levels to building trust.
Think about who you trust in the tangible world, do you like someone well presented who will speak to you directly and is able to meet your gaze? Thought so.
Are you unnerved by someone a bit too slick, apparently with all the answers, who does not give you a chance to ask a question? So if there is a product you like the look of, it makes sense that you should be able to ask about it and make contact with a solid person, even online.
The issue is that we now have so many contacts we are constantly told we have friends everywhere, but in the overwhelming number of people, we can start to lose recognition of who are the real friends, distant or otherwise.
A good friend is someone who has your best interest at heart, will tell you an uncomfortable truth if needed and will often share a laugh with you, but also wants to be treated fairly.
Once you bear that in mind you can confidentially decide who to trust, and who to call a friend.