Confidentiality and the potential loss of trust

by Oct 3, 2017Communication, Relationships, Workplace

Build Trust in Your Workplace Relationships

Business relationships rely on trust both ways. When we are building these relationships, we communicate trust, reliability, expertise and confidentiality among other skills. But there are occasions when the trust element is questioned, damaging a relationship.

Keeping a conversation private

There are several occasions where I have had a conversation with someone where the content is confidential. It might be a private, personal story, or something specific related to one’s business. There have been two occasions where I have had to support individuals who are going through difficult personal challenges, or their business finances are in dire straits. I have known that this conversation goes no further.


I believe this is not old-fashioned but respectful to another individual. Therefore I was delighted when Brené Brown mentioned this during an interview with Marie Forleo; the concept of a confidentiality ‘Vault’ for specific conversations – where the conversation “Goes no further” because it is a private conversation and a private story.

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Learning the value of a confidentiality ‘vault’

Certainly I have been in the situation on more than one occasion, where my private conversation has become a ‘story’ for others – or gossip…. And with the best will in the world I have struggled to trust that person any more. On one occasion I was at a training day where we shared stories and challenges about our businesses. The agreement was that anything we discussed remained in the room. I was therefore horrified when details of my business that I had shared and discussed, appeared in a blog AND newsletter from another participant in this group. She had grabbed a photo of me from the internet and without my agreement had shared ‘my story’. The same thing happened to another delegate too.

The trainer for this event had established a confidentiality ‘Vault’ situation, yet the individual involved had failed to respect this, and as a result, lost the respect and trust from a number of people.

If you are sharing information with others, make sure they are trustworthy, or test what you share first, to ensure they aren’t idle gossips or wish to claim your story. And if you are listening to a story, have the respect to put this story in a VAULT. Idol gossiping wins no friends.

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Originally posted in Executive Voice

Susan Heaton Wright Contributor
Susan Heaton-Wright is a global Virtual impact, communications and speaking trainer for corporate clients. She empowers talented people to create memorable and engaging business conversations. She is the creator of the Superstar Communicator™ methodology: an international speaker; the MD of award winning music company, Viva Live Music, podcaster and a former prize winning international opera singer. She delivers virtual seminars, workshops and individual training for many companies including Astra Zeneca, Deloitte, RBS, Shell, Microsoft, AAP, Invesco, AXA, the NHS and Quintiles. She is regularly interviewed on BBC Radio Five Live; BBC2, local radios and international podcasts. In 2020, she was named as an #ialso 100 top inspirational female entrepreneur in UK.
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