Trust is the key element for any relationship—weather personal, casual or even online. We need for people to trust us so that they will buy from us, play with us or possibly even have a conversation with us.

It takes 30-35 milliseconds to judge a person’s face and determine whether to trust them or not. This happens in the emotional centers of our brains.

In the online world it takes 50 milliseconds to figure out if we like a website or not.

What does this mean to you?

You have a very, very, VERY short time to capture someone’s attention before they ignore you, or close your website and move on to the next. Faces carry a ton of information that our brains process unconsciously. This can be to your advantage or disadvantage. It is a double-edge sword. To gain trust, you must be very careful with how you look at people, and the set of your facial expressions. Perception is equally important if you are trying to approach people in print, such as a magazine, flyer or your website. You must choose your designs and you photos carefully, with viewer perception in mind.

Studies have shown that, in a matter of milliseconds, a face with a smile is perceived as more trustworthy than a sad or frowning face. Lesson: When you speak or approach people, do so with a smile. And, if you are giving out a flier or presenting your website, make sure the people presented on your message are smiling.

The land beyond smiles and photos

Although a first impression is both important and durable, there are many other factors that influence whether people trust us. Everything surrounding that smile should support trust. In life, many things can affect trust, such as the way you sit, dress, your environment, your knowledge and so on. In the online world, it is the same. You can have a wonderful smiling photo but if the site is cluttered, you are using bad colors, or has no information pertinent to what you are trying to convey, then people will lose trust in your site.

To help gain trust from your viewers, readers, customers or the people around you, it is useful to understand that many factors influence your overall Subconscious Worthiness Score (SWS). The SWS is the mental score that our brain calculates to determine our level of trust, whether it is in a person, a website or any other element.

6 ways to increase your trustworthiness score

1 – Display a genuine smiling face

2 – Make an appropriate first impression

3 – Provide relevant information that is in sync with what you are offering

4 – Be knowledgeable about your topic

5 – Be consistent and keep your word

6 – Be a truly sympathetic listener