This article identifies three essentials in developing trust – communicating consistently, transparently and authentically – and suggests that uncertainty has some positive aspects.

Getting Started

Introduction to the article (perhaps by having everyone read it)

Trust is earned through hard work over an extended period of time, yet it can be destroyed in an instant. The old adage “Once bitten, twice shy” carries a truth with it. Once you lose a person’s trust it is very difficult to get it back. So, how do you earn and keep that trust? Harvey Schachter suggests that it is through consistent, transparent and authentic communication. Far too often we fail in one or more of these areas and therefore find that we do not have the trust of those around us as much as we would like. There are a myriad reasons why we fail to practise these three things and often it is the result of how we view a situation. In difficult and challenging times, there is a tendency to be more secretive, more isolated and more focused on the end result rather than the process and logical next step. As a result, trust suffers at a time when it is needed most. This lesson will have the students examine how trust is built and the ways in which that trust can be maintained during difficult times.

Subject Area(s) covered

Business studies, social studies, politics, entrepreneurship

New Terms to explain


Materials Needed

Access to the article and an online partner

Study and Discussion Activity

Key things students can learn from this lesson

  • The ways in which trust can be earned
  • The frailty of trust
  • The ways in which trust can be maintained in difficult times
  • The value of uncertainty

Action (here’s how we’ll do it)

  • Before grouping the students in triads, have the students individually write down the names of three people they trust and why they trust those individuals.
  • Once this has been done, form the students into triads and set up a means by which they can communicate with each other – the use of breakout rooms in Zoom for example – and have them share their reasons for trusting the people they do.
  • Have them then discuss this question: “With people you distrust, is it simply because they don’t do the things that the people you trust do, or are there other factors which stop you from trusting them?”

Consolidation of Learning

  • Reconvene the triads and have them report, in turn, to the others in the class.
  • Allow the students the opportunity to respond to and discuss what they have heard.
  • Have them access and read the article.
Success and Additional Learning

Success Criteria

The students will appreciate:

  • What it takes to build trust
  • How trust can be broken during difficult times
  • How uncertainty can provide an opportunity for growth.

Confirming Activities

  • Reconvene the triads in their breakout rooms and have them discuss the article.
  • In a brief writing assignment, which they will submit to you online, have each student identify a time in which they broke a trust and explain, using the information they acquired in the lesson, how they would now behave differently in order to keep that trust

Helpful Internet Searches

Activities to do together

  • Any of the activities identified on the following website could be used as a trust-building activity.
  • Once they have done the exercise, have them discuss how it helped to develop and build trust.