I'm not a relationship expert, but I know a thing or two about building relationships. I've mastered how to build relationships quicker.

Now, I'm not saying there is this amazing never seen before shortcut because time and effort is always the best way to build trustworthy relationships, but there are different ways to build trust in relationships faster.

But, it's 2018, and we all don't have the "time" to build new relationships.

So, here is what I do.

1. Create unique and authentic content online.

Anytime I meet someone new or I'm introduced to someone new through the closest contact, I will always do my due diligence by searching their name on Google and LinkedIn. This is no different than what a majority of people will do when they want to find out more about someone.

What's worked really well for me is that I have a lot of public content online that is personable. I have my own blog with unique content and I use LinkedIn often to publish my thoughts.

What's interesting is that one of my Inc. articles I wrote about taking 250 coffee meetings is a great opener to any conversation and it's how I built many new relationships. I signalled that I'm okay sitting down and talking to a new person regardless of their professional background. It essentially allows me to skip a lot of the "so tell me about yourself" questions, and immediately dive into deeper questions which allows us to really get to know each other.

This speeds up the process of building relationships because now other people who are meeting me for the first time, already know a lot about me! We've already skipped the awkward stage!

2. Start with a coffee meeting.

Do you know why I love coffee so much?

  1. It's coffee. Who doesn't love coffee?

  2. It sets a great environment for the meeting. Coffee allows the other person to be a little bit more creative and free-flowing with their ideas. The more comfortable they are talking with you, the better the conversation will go. Coffee works wonders.

I take quite a bit of coffee meetings, and prefer coffee over dinner and/or drinks, especially for a first meeting. The louder the coffee place the better, so you don't feel awkward if other people can hear you speak.

3. Reach out to people who have a lot in common with you.

This one requires quite a bit of planning, but is a surefire way to build trust faster. Shared interests are an underrated way to build better relationships. It almost sounds silly.

I graduated from Purdue University, and it doesn't matter how many years before or after someone else graduated from Purdue, that shared interest is an easy way to lower their guard and build a better trustworthy relationship faster.

The same goes for previous companies, organizations and even nationality. Focus on the people who are most like you, and you will see how much easier it is to have a strong conversation and potentially do business in the future.

4. Give your time away for free (but be careful).

Now, this can be a little controversial since I don't really recommend working for free. But, if you're looking to build a relationship with someone and have nothing in common with them, you can always try to offer to help them for free.

If they are part of a non-profit, you can utilize your skills and offer it to them at no charge. This is a great way to start a relationship since you aren't asking for anything. Be sure that you are genuinely asking to help, because people can fish a bait and switch from a mile away.

There are also little things you can do to show them you are real about building a trusted relationship. At a coffee meeting? Offer to buy them coffee. Know someone that can help them? Offer to introduce them to you. The list goes on for the different ways you can help them, but this will always lead to more trust.

The less you ask from someone, the more they will trust you. The more you give, the more trust will be given to you.

Published on: May 31, 2018
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.