How hard was it to earn the trust of someone like Steve Jobs?
It really boiled down to one thing: Do you actually know what you are talking about?
Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli, authors of the newest Steve Jobs biography “Becoming Steve Jobs,” explored a side of Jobs that was only accessible to those who had a deep understanding of the tech visionary. So far, we’ve learned intimate details of Jobs’ life like the time Tim Cook offered his liver to the dying Apple co-founder, and when Jobs dramatically revealed that his cancer had returned to his close friend and CEO of Disney, Bob Iger.
Schlender covered Steve Jobs for 25 years writing for Fortune and The Wall Street Journal — he reportedly became one of the few journalists that Steve Jobs trusted. So how did a journalist covering the tech scene earn the trust and respect of one of the most iconic CEOs in history?
In an interview with Business Insider, Tetzeli described how Schlender earned Jobs’ trust.
“And Brent knew something about programming. He had worked on a mainframe, taken computer programming classes at the University of Kansas. So he could talk intelligently with Steve about the things that mattered most to Steve. Again and again, that was what mattered to Steve. If you knew what you were talking about, you got a level of respect from Steve that others didn’t get.”
So here’s the takeaway: If you are trying to get someone important to trust you, especially if that person values intelligence, know what you are talking about. Be honest and don’t pretend you know something you don’t. Don’t try to flatter them like you are some fanboy. Don’t waste their time with useless pleasantries. Earn their respect by proving your value, or really, the value of your knowledge. Get to the point, or don’t even bother.