Book/Literature Reviews

Book Review: Are You An Evaluation Trust Agent? Part 1

Julian Smith public speaker, voice actor, consultant + Chris Brogan, president of Human Business Works

who started blogging back in the day-1998

=New York Times and Wall Street Journal best selling authors of Trust Agents.

I’m not one to read books, but the strong reviews tell me enough(for now). I let a few of them speak for themselves below:

Amazon reviewer thoughts on Trust Agents before it was published…

“…A Trust Agent builds networks almost reflexively by being helpful, by promoting the good work that others do, by sharing even their best stuff without hesitation, and by finding ways to deliver even more value on top of all that without asking for anything in return.”

Another reviewer commented on Brogan’s Thinking About Trust Agents post…

“I see true Trust Agents as skilled practitioners in the art of charisma at a distance. You are the same. How many of your readers have actually met you or seen you speak? Not me (until Marketing Profs in Scottsdale). But yet, they flock to you like a moth to flame. Are you a good writer with great ideas? Sure. But what makes you trustworthy beyond others with good content is the “voice” in your writing. When I read your stuff, I feel like I’m listening to you say it out loud, even on Twitter, and that singular ability … is what builds Trust in an age where the depth of relationships has a linear progression of Twitter>Linked In>DM>Facebook>Email>Telephone> .”

The book appears to be about building genuine trust with your online communities, and translating some of that into the “real world” as well. Of course there’s more, but you’d have to read the book or some of the in depth reviews for additional info. I’ve highlighted a few areas I’ll be working on to become more trust agent-like in my practice as an evaluator.

1. It doesn’t take much to offer your best stuff without hesitation, well just think about the return you could get, stakeholders may actually want to be more participatory. The return could make your life or maybe just the life of the project so much simpler when working with different people when they know you’ll give up the goods! I don’t mean slaving over a report and saying “taa daa”, but showing interested parties how you developed such an awesome report or came to such wonderful conclusions and how they can too. (I did this yesterday and got great feedback!)

2. Charisma at a distance, check…I am only as informed as a the stakeholder allows me to be regarding their programs/processes which is why building trust and relationships is so vital to the success of an evaluation

3. Having a reader connect with your writing or online presence to the point that they feel like they hear the your voice seems like it may take some time to build this level of trust, but it is possible! Fortunately I currently get to build many in person relationships for my work, but it takes some special navigation to be able to keep this up online. Being authentic and consistent are the words that come to mind.

Do any of the words above stand out to you and your practice as an evaluator? Do you think you’re a trust agent?

Hold tight! I’ve got more coming up in Part 2!


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