This post is part of our Weekly Tips series.

This is our last tip (for now) in a three-part series on the subject of intimacy—a word that businesspeople don’t usually associate with professionalism.

And yet, intimacy is a critical ingredient for trust-based relationships. It suggests a level of comfort, security, and rapport that directly impacts your ability to be influential, and that fosters the kind of relationships that make your businesses thrive.

In Parts I and II we looked at ways to build intimacy by being positive and personal.

Today, we focus on being bold—in other words, having the courage to take personal risks that build trust in a relationship.

Bonus: Making it Real

This week, step outside your comfort zone. Here are three ways to do that:

  1. Acknowledge uncomfortable situations. Caveats are conversational jewels: “Wow, this is awkward…” or “I wish I had better news…” or “The timing with this is embarrassing…”
  2. Say what needs to be said. Practice doing it in 10 words or fewer. “We’re not going to make the deadline” or “We just don’t have the executive sponsorship we need” or “Jim is leaving the team.” The direct approach works especially well in combination with caveats (see #1).
  3. Take responsibility for mistakes. Yeah, it’s risky. It’s also human (we all make them) and refreshingly real. “Janet, part of the problem here is that I dropped the ball.”

Learn More


  • See our Top 10 list of intimacy-builders. Or discover your score on the Trust Quotient Assessment, thanks to our partners at Trusted Advisor Associates.
  • Please do keep in mind that none of these “techniques” creates intimacy if they’re forced or disingenuous or robotic. It’s okay (and perfectly natural) to be a little awkward and unpolished–in fact, that just creates more intimacy.
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Andrea Howe

As the founder of The Get Real Project, I am the steward of our vision and our service offerings, as well as a workshop leader and keynote speaker. Above all else, I am an entrepreneur on a mission: to kick conventional business wisdom to the curb and transform how people work together as a result. I am also the co-author, with Charles H. Green, of The Trusted Advisor Fieldbook (Wiley, 2012).