No matter the conflict venue any form of human interaction requires a basis of trust from which accords can be reached and commitments relied upon. Conflict resolution, alternate dispute resolution, negotiations, mediation, settlement discussion, debt restructuring, salary and performance reviews, whenever humans interact are colored by the inclination of each party to trust or distrust the other. Those who establish credibility and an honorable reputation possess a personal power advantage at any negotiating table.

Honesty and integrity is what makes a negotiation between two people meaningful. Unless they can rely on the word of the other, the pledges are meaningless. In the business environment, all agreements are reduced to contracts and the law is fairly clear that most agreements are confined to the written word once signed.

- How do the parties get to the point that a document can be prepared and signed? By trusting each other.
- How does a couple reach an agreement that will never be documented? By building a relationship based on trust. Without it, the agreement and potentially the relationship will falter.
- How do friends resolve an argument? They rely on the bond of their friendship which is based on mutual respect and trust.

The power of being respected as a person of integrity, no matter the venue, is strong. If you have a reputation as a straight shooter when you agree, when you say No!, or when you bluff the other person is likely to be inclined to take you at your word. That is personal power.

Proactively protect your reputation and diligently seek to establish your credibility not only with those you care about but even casual acquaintances. It is your reputation that others learn of from common co-workers, business associates or friends. This indirect referendum on your integrity is what establishes your personal power in a negotiation or simple discussion.