The Six Minute Book Summary of The Language of Trust: Selling Suggestions in a Globe of Skeptics by Michael Maslansky

August 12, 2011

Chris Rugh 

Leadership Speaker

The Six Minute Book Summary of The Language of Trust: Selling Ideas in a World of Skeptics by Michael Maslansky

Executive Summary

The author of The Language of Trust, Michael Maslansky, is one of Corporate America’s leading communication and research strategists.  He advises Leading Corporation, industry associations and nonprofit organizations on what to say and how to say it. This book is about a new world that is growing as we speak from seeds of words we use. In a very real sense communication skills are really important. Our good communication skill will help us do better business, have good workplaces, and personal relationships.

The Language of Trust: Selling Ideas in a World of Skeptics is a book about how to use language to undo the skepticism that has being created. This book is based on more than a decade’s worth of research into how consumers respond to difficult and controversial topics. Whether your goals are introducing a new product, or re-framing the policy debate, language carries more influence than you might fully believe. Language has become a big contributor to decline trust and rise skepticism.  Language is an art, everyone practices daily. We create our own rules were language becomes meaningful, and efficient, were our goal is to give the person a meaning. Language can be manipulated and can be used in advantage way. Language makes people manipulated other people. People trying to manipulate you help you when you haven’t request it, need it or want it. The goal is to make them owe you. This rule works like this “if someone does you a favor, you owe him a favor in return”. Another way you can trick people into thinking that you feel for them and that you stress the importance of their choice. You just have to be a good speaker.

Plato knew a lot of language and he said, “Rhetoric is the art of ruling the mind if men”. Back in Twenty–first century, rhetoric was known as “spin”. This book is to use language in a credible way. This book wants to show how to use language and undo the spin of skepticism that this world has created. It’s may focus is giving you the best advices in building trust when the facts and records of the situation are on your side.

The society in this new era is really skeptical; maintains a doubting attitude, as toward values, plans, statements, or the character of others. It is surprising how different conversations in personal and professional lives reflect skepticism. Some of the examples they give in the book is when a salesperson is selling a product, the first thing he says is that their product is better than the competitors. The buyers first thing that comes to mind is that he will think about the product and called them back next day. This skeptics that cross your mind has turned you off and tuned you out, and you are not sure if you want the product.

The goal of this book is to anyone who sell ideas, products, services to people that doesn’t want to hear it. For the people who is challenge in speaking this author explores words to use, words to lose and new order of how to structure well your messages. They give real world examples where they show how people react and help to know what to say. The point is to show how to communicate in a new language in this new era of mistrust, and help you with the language of Trust.

This book is based on the author opinions. It has accumulated a lot of feedback from quantitative and qualitative research with votes, employees, shareholders and different companies’ staff about how to communicate in ways to overcome the skepticism and present new ideas. A skeptical audience who you need to reach is the language of trust that will help you succeed.

The Ten Things Managers Need to Know fromThe Language of Trust

“The language of Trust is the language of your audience” the language of trust is not about yourself is about the audience.  All communicators need to become agents for customers  because in this new era “ he who exalts himself shall be humbled, and he who humbles himself shall be exalted”.

“The Language of trust puts control in the hands of your audience”. The decision making process has changed. The fastest way to make someone to buy a product is to give them objective information. Your language needs to compete in a way that your ideas or product will become a victor.

“The language of Trust is Authentic” The principles of communication have to appear honest and authentic. Always give statements of trust and they will be more likely to listen your message.

“The language of trust recognizes that we all have flaws” the language of trust is built to with the idea that you can have an imperfect product or document and still attract and retain customers.  Consumers have to be open and don’t expect a product or company to be perfect.

5.“The language of trust validates objections” a new approach  for this new era  that helps a lot is  to change from being a person with an agenda to someone who lives where your listeners live and experiences what they experience,

The four principles of credible communication are be personal, be plainspoken, be positive and be plausible. Each of this principle underscores fundamental nature addressing skepticism.

“Make yourself Real” one the fastest way to lose skeptic is to make a message sound like a fine print. To build trust you have to communicate with less corporate speak and more authentic language.

The idea of selling a product is to make your message personally relevant to your audience. It doesn’t matter that you think something is important.  Is listening first and understanding your audience situation.

People who challenge in lifetime speaking habits. They tell you what words to use, words to lose and new ways to structure your message. Is a great example of real –world examples that show you how to react and what to say.

Building trust is extremely important, one of the first things you have to do is change the words “you “or “me” to “we” or “our”. This little detail of changing the words will put you on the same side of the table and your audience perceives the whole conversation in a different way.

Full Summary of The Language of Trust

Chapter 1: America’s Post –Trust Era

“Welcome to 2008 the year of trust finally died”.  In 2008 was when trust in this country reached the breaking point.  The consequences can be seen, 500 companies were research and they said is could be seen daily. I doesn’t matter of you were food seller or beverage company, your credibility is challenge because people don’t want to hear what you have to say. They look for exceptions instead of reasons to believe you. Americas level of trust has gotten to a point were you have think twice what to say because the trust levels are down in every market segment. We are living and communicating in the PTE (Post-Trust Era). Yesterday trust has become today’s skepticism.  A skeptic is someone who challenges ideas in search for truth.  An optimist person knows everything will good, and cynic knows everything will be bad, but and skeptic is someone who has to gathered information. Typically they become more and more skeptical as they gather more experience. In this new PTE you can see skeptics people everywhere, from young to old.

Some of the reasons why people are becoming more and more skeptics are:

“We have much more information”  The world is connected in a digital community were  the first thing they do before making a purchase is check online to see the consumer ratings and all the feedbacks. Another reason is “We have seen behind the curtain” sellers have an art in marketing and communicating trying to sell the best product to our society. Consumers have become more sensitive and specific so they don’t believe the entire message they use to sell their products.  The consumers don’t want to be told what to think so they reject any suggestion simply because it comes from companies and institutions.

A big event of erosion of trust in American life is how symbols have increasingly dominated public discourage.  Each is a symbol “a shorthand representation of a much larger ideological perspective”. Each of this symbols challenges to a company or industry, this symbols have dominate the debate in the Americans public life. Some examples of this symbols are: The symbol: “Plastic water bottles “ , What it says: “Anything to make a buck”, The symbol: :”High credit cards rates”, what it says: We will take advantage of you at every turn”. Companies are getting rich everyday at the expense of the customers.  If you see industry after industry it becomes really difficult to find something positive this company is doing because it dramatically impact the way companies are doing business.

The Implications for how we communicate

The challenge of communicating in a PTE has gotten to a point were companies, and politicians could tell their story and know that they will not be heard.  In this new world it is really important to know and understand all the new rules. This new rules are explain in seven lessons that explains us how this has changed. This guidelines died with the end of trust.

“The truth will not set you free”.   Most of the communicators believe they can get the people to understand their point of view.  They use a lot of facts to gain trust. The problem is that in PTE everyone has their own version and they try to find a point were they try to disprove it. This idea of having facts brings another problem that people don’t want to hear a huge story. You can have print out and facts sheet but they don’t really care what you are talking. This new era has brought a lot changes when it comes to explanations because if you don’t give them authenticity and straight talk they can demand you.

“Your Truth is not what matters to people”. Most of the organization have their internal lexicon made up of jargon that people outside the organization can easily understand.  This is supported by a set of facts that is called “Their Truth”. The big problem of this is that the organization think their truth  is correct , but what really matters is the view of the audience.  An example of  “Your Truth” is “TARP funds are a small percentage of our capital” but “Their Truth” is “It’s ALL TARP Funds”

“The fifth Amendment is a death sentence” In the PTE you are guilty until they prove you innocent. Silence is considered a way to guilty. This is use by companies when they do something bad or one of their products becomes recalled.

“You can only tell one story” Every department in the company can tell a different story about their reason of layoff depending on their audience.

“You are often your least credible source” People are always suspicious from the information that comes from the website of the company.

Chapter 2: It all starts with words

It starts with words and those who learned the language of trust are the one  who will have success un the new era.  The effects of skepticism and accessibility is an audience that won’t  listen. People have already made u their minds about their position with the different products. An example is Pc vrs Mac. They only hear and seek what their existing beliefs. Another important reason why  the new anguage of trust is really important and necessary is because skeptical people  can shut you ut and shut you up. That why you have to adopt a new kind of language  that must be strategic and authentic.

 “ The language of Trust is the language of your audience” the language of trust is not about yourself is about the audience. 

“The Language of trust puts control in the hands of your audience”. The fastest way to make someone to buy a product is to give them objective information. Your language needs to compete in a way that your ideas or product will become a victor.

       3.            “The language of Trust is Authentic” The principles of communication have to appear honest and authentic.

“The language of trust recognizes that we all have flaws” the language of trust is built  the idea that you can have an imperfect product or  document and still attract and retain customers. 

5.“The language of trust validates objections” a new approach  for this new era  that helps a lot is  to change from being a person with an agenda to someone who lives where your listeners live and experiences what they experience,

Engaging the Skeptic

The people who receive your messages fall within a continuum, with optimists at in end, and skeptics in the middle.  Your goal is to create a skeptic dialogue and follow the four principles of credible communication.

Be Personal: Selling ideas and product is a need to tell the audience something they need, want or agree. It’s really important to focus in what they want to buy not what we want to sell.

Be Plainspoken:using simple and direct language

Be Positive:a positive acceptance of the agreement.

Be Plausible:having an appearance of truth or reason; seemingly worthy of approval or acceptance; credible; believable

In this era of mistrust, words are really important. Is not what you say, is what we they hear.

Chapter 3: Be Personal. “The Personal Principle: It’s Not About You , It’s About Them”

The first thing in building trust is to know that selling a product has to do with your audience beliefs and what they think. Personalizing it’s extremely important in speaking to a person’s   individual situation that trying to put people in categories. The idea of personalization is seen everywhere, communicators tend to talk of what is comfortable to them. They usually focus on what they want to say instead f thinking what the audience wants to hear. Another thing they focus is on facts that talk   only about the product.

There are four components of personalizing a message to build a relationship of trust.

Make it Relevant:  Your first job is to make your message important to your audience.  It is really important to always think of your audience opinion because is not the same what you think is important at what they think is important

Make it Tangible: Always explain the facts and terms that relate to you.

Make it Human: If your point is to connect the audience with a product or an issue, you need to make it human by telling them personal stories.

Make yourself real: It is extremely important to build trust, so you have to communicate to someone with trust ad speak more authentic language.

Chapter 4: Be Plainspoken. “The Plainspoken Principle: If they can understand you, It’s your Fault”

 Communicating with clarity is a foundation of the language of trust. In a world of skeptics, if people can’t understand what you are saying they have the mentality that is your fault not theirs. You have to gain customers in engaging their attention and trust. They are three guidelines for using plain language to communicate with your audience:

People don’t know what you think they know: Sellers most of the time assume that the audience have the same knowledge as them, but they don’t.  This is the result that the audience doesn’t admit that they didn’t understand and instead they don’t buy what you are selling.

Simple does not always means short: A lot of people make the mistake to simplify the language when they are selling a product. It is really important to use five words of clear story than use two words and leave people.

Say enough but not so much: Communicators say to much information, and makes the message get lost. Is more important to say the message in an effective and plain way, in which you are saying your point.

Here are some examples of how to use plain language. Don’t use: Adjacent to, Use: Next to, don’t use: Parameters, Use: Limits. , Don’t Use: Subsequent, Use: Next.

Chapter 5. Be Positive. “The Positive Principle: Negativity Breeds Contempt”

Toda y the language of trust is built on much more positive approach to communications. Some of the key principles are: Positive is not Pollyanna, Positive is forward-looking and Positive is for things, not against them.

Positive is not Pallyanna

Turning real fact into an optimist  view of the world is what make positive language work Your language has to be positive  and it must reflect the audience view of the world without asking  to get involved in something that simply don’t believe possible. 

Emphasize your company’s commitment to customers; always start in delivering the customers that hey value mos. This is the place o tart in appositive message even if you had bad news to deliver. Always have credibility and always remind them that you know what is important for them.

Acknowledge the problem and your commitment to find a solution is o recognize the issue on your audience mind and find a solution that works for your customers and company.  Customer has to know your role and responsibility. 

The company has to build credibility, because if they keep on making mistakes people are not willing to stay with the same company. 

Chapter 6: BE Plausible. “The Plausibility Principle: Life Isn’t Perfect; Neither is What you are selling

The hardest part of creating plausible message is that they often confused with weakness.  Plausible message is often weaker that traditional marketing messaging. The good thing is that is more believable so it become a stronger message that is trusted it transparency and honesty. They are tree keys for creating a plausible message.

Plausible language is neutral:

Neutral statements replace judgments with factual statements. Plausible messages don’t tell the audience what to think, they focus on providing the right information skeptics need to make up their minds in a way that favors the communicator. Neutral statements give details.  Plausible speech tends to be longer on information and shorter on hyperbole.

Plausible language is complete. The business have been built with the idea that  they have to find the best way o get people to believe in their products. You have to build credibility by building the complete picture.

Plausible language avoids superlatives. TO be credible you need to walk the line between brash and weak. One of the keys in finding new solutions to our problems is through partnerships that bring an industry  together.  Partnerships come together in solving big problems and are more likely to succeed than individuals.

Chapter 7: Getting to Listen: Engagement before Discussion

In the PTE we do not have the luxury of talking of skeptics in your communication process. The word engagement in business has a meaning of trust that revolves around relationships.  In the PTE this is becoming everyone culture.

The Rules of engagement

Rule #1: Understand Their Truth

Understanding their truth is a two-step process. The first step is to make sure you have a picture of their audience. The next step is to thin in depth about their perspective.

Rule #2: Find Common Ground

The language trust is built on a foundation of engagement. In order to communicate effectively they must build a message and start by getting the listeners to their heads agreement.

Rule #3: Ask and you shallreceive

The goal of engagement to get people talking is to put them at a center of a dialogue. The best questions are the ones that you don’t know the answer. Good questions are designed to learn what the other person wants and opposed to what the other person will buy. Customers usually know what you can do for them.

Chapter 8: That’s Not What I meat: Context Before Specifics

The selling of selling products has moved in a totally different direction. The first one to speak the language will be the first to gain trust and respect of the skeptical consumer. This new generation has added a new completely dimension to what public relation.Communicating in this difficult environment requires more than selling products. This is the only way to reach consumers to re-establish credibility.  Doing so requires an entirely new language: the language of trust.

Chapter 9: That’s not what I meant: Context before specifics

This section has proved to be the most controversial part of this book. This chapter interprets how to influence the way people interact facts.  The process of selling the products has totally changed in a different way.  You will be the first to gain trust and to speak the language which this will make you be a skeptical consumer. This new generation of trust is seeking a completely new dimension in public relations.

Chapter 10. The Language of Trust in a Digital World

The research of a presentation or speech is the easy part. The hardest part is applying he message to real world situations. This final chapter is a compiled list of what not to say. Trust can be broken in a misplaced phrase, and then removed the credibility from communicating in a first step . They are seven “anti trust laws” of statements that should be avoid at all costs.  They also included twenty banned phrases that illustrates what an anti-trust means.

Using the Language of Trust online

You do not have to tell your story in 140 characters

Be a part of the conversation whenever you can be

Liking and navigating is part of your message.

Be a provider, not a hider.

Always let other people comment on your site.

Be the voice of reason.

Great customer engagement is the best way to build trust online.

Chapter 11. The Anti- Trust Laws: Twenty Banned Phrases

“Are you kidding me “? Statements

“Trust me” or “Trust us”.

“If I could promise you this, would you buy”

“We speak your language”

Sincerely  unbelievable statements

5. “Your call is important to us”

6. “We care about our customers”

7. “Our interest are aligned”

“Too good to be true” Statements

8. “A best-of-breed product”

9. “Achieving your dream retirement”

10.“We give you guaranteed results”

“Because I said so”

11. “Our products are safe:

12. “This is the right product for you”

“The fact is” “When Worlds Collide”

    13)”What you need to understand is”

     14)”Our hands are tied”

    15) “If we don’t do this, it will hurt our business”

“ I can explain”

16)” This was taken out of context”

17)”I voted for the billion before I voted against it”

18) Anything in fine point

Fear mongering Statements

19)”Are you concerned about security for your family?”

20)” Act now or you’ll miss this opportunity.”

The Video Lounge skeptics world

Personal Insights

Why I think:

With business conditions today, what the author wrote is longer true – because:

The language of trust has become really important because in this PTE were people   are more connected than ever.  Today we have become more experts and the clients come to us with messages that represent exactly what they want to say. The most important side effect is how the words we use will help us get out of this mistrust era. This society demands trust and is mandatory to treat people with respect.  The Language of trust is a way to succeed and it is extremely important what we say to each other. The Language of Trust is for anyone who must sell ideas, services and even themselves that live in a skeptical world.

If I were the author of the book, I would have done these three things differently:

1.            If I were the author I would not give twenty common phrases to drop the vocabulary of a PTE (Post-trust Era).

2.            If I were the author I would have written the power of choosing the right words differently.

3.            If I were the author I would give more detail and focus more in the phrases that are focus to big audience.

Reading this book made me think differently about the topic in these ways:

Reading this book made me learn that “The Language of Trust” is for anyone who must sell ideas, products and services. People come to us with messages that represent exactly what they want to say.

Plausible language is neutral, complete and superlative.  This is a strong messages that is rejected or disbelief.  Plausible message are weaker and but you have to try to look at these ideas in detail and see how you can create a new sense of credibility.

The language of Trust is the language of your audience.  Always I have to remember that is not about me is about the audience. I have to see their needs and concerns.

I’ll apply what I’ve learned in this book in my career by:

I will apply this in my career by knowing how the structure my message: I have to put engagement before discussion, always think of their interest and be specific with the context.

I will apply this in my career that is really important  to communicate with clarity and simplicity.  People don’t know what you think they know.

I will apply in my career that a great customer engagement is the best way to build trust with people. The first thing to overcome with skepticism is use to use tools that help you communicate in way that the audience feels a relationship with me.

Here is a sampling of what others have said about the book and its author:

 “Marketers, financial advisors, and communicators of all types should take note of the lessons in this book….More than most, Michael understands the enormous challenges we face, and this book provides an essential set of tools and practical approached for reconnecting with customers who may have lost faith in what we offer. It isn’t enough for us to have a good story to tell; we must also be able to tell a good-and credible-story. The Language of Trust will help any communicator who muct win over a skeptical audience.”
-Cathy Weatherford, CEO of Insured Retirement Institute

“Trust has never been more important in the corporate world-because there’s so little of it. For years, people have tried to figure out how to communicate trust. Now, finally, Michael Maslansky has unlocked the DNA of trust. Anyone who cares about their employees, their customers, or their reputation has to read this book.”
-Dr. Frank Luntz, author of Words That Workand What Americans Really Want…Really

“Michael Maslansky has written the ultimate guide to winning trust in a world that has lost it. He writes with wit, wisdom, and a commendable absence of jargon. If you are concerned about trust, and all of us should be, then this book is an indispensable starting point.”
-Lord Gould, former polling and strategy advisor to Prime Minister Tony Blair, and Deputy Chairman of Freud Communication

“There are many books on effective communication, but this book is unique in the way it recognizes the importance of language and messaging as ways to build trust when talking to customers, partners, or employees. The Language of Trust will help any executive who must communicate with strength and credibility.”
-Suzanne Coulter, president of Polo Retail Corporation

“To successfully earn trust in face-to-face or Facebook communication, embrace the proven concepts in The Language of Trust–they’re as important to your life as involuntary breathing. It’s just common sense.”
-Thomas L. Harrison, LHD, chairman and CEO of Diversified Agency Services division of Omnicom Group Inc.


Contact Info: To contact the author of this “Summary and Review of The Language of Trust,” please email 


David C. Wyld ( is the Robert Maurin Professor of Management at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, Louisiana. He is a management consultant, researcher/writer, and executive educator. His blog, Wyld About Business, can be viewed at He also serves as the Director of the Reverse Auction Research Center (, a hub of research and news in the expanding world of competitive bidding. Dr. Wyld also maintains compilations of works he has helped his students to turn into editorially-reviewed publications at the following sites:

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Book Reviews ( and

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