In building trust we should follow Columbo’s approach, after all, he always got his man.
The late Peter Falk played a homicide detective by the name of Lieutenant Frank Columbo. Lieutenant Columbo worked for the Los Angeles Police Department in a 1970’s crime fiction TV series called Columbo. Columbo presented himself as incompetent and naive, absent-minded and unkempt in appearance detective, when in reality he was the smartest guy in the room. It could have been very easy for him to let his ego get in the way and try to prove to the perpetrator how smart he was. However, he stayed focused on the big picture and the perpetrators of the crimes he investigated always knew they were too intelligent to get caught by Columbo and they let their walls down. That’s what sealed their fate. Columbo masterfully unveiled his genius and gradually broke down his overconfident adversary bit by bit by asking innocent questions that later proved to be pivotal in revealing the murderer. He would show admiration for the suspect, even praising the very attribute or talent of which the criminal was most proud of. It was a thing of beauty to watch him in action, usually scratching his head with a confused look on his face all the while.
Columbo had confidence. Do we have confidence or must we always be right, always be teaching, and always be talking? By doing this, others will build walls and we will lose trust and a future relationship. I’m not saying to drive up in an unclean, old, beat up, car and get out wearing a wrinkled raincoat, chewing on a cigar, and acting naive. But I am saying we can be humble, be a good finder, and genuinely care about people. In Dale Carnegie’s book How to Win Friend & Influence People (found on the LIFE site) Part two, chapters 4 through 6 show us that if we must go from being a great listener to talking then talk about their favorite topic “themselves”. If we learn this we will see their walls come down, trust being developed, and a beautiful relationship beginning and in the end you will be loved for focusing on a bigger picture, A CHANGED LIFE.