(Join: 9999947824) Your credibility as a speaker is so important that if you don’t have it — if the audience doesn’t find you credible — you might as well stop speaking. For any number of reasons, consciously and unconsciously, people decide whether and how much they trust you. Your credibility depends on three factors:
1. Your Personal Credibility
Are you a person of your word? Are you honest, sincere? Trustworthiness and likability are not the same thing. If they don’t like you, they’ll find reasons to distrust you. If they like you, they’ll tend to trust you.
2. Your Expertise
Do you know what you’re talking about? Do you present yourself and your ideas credibly?
3. Your Audience’s Judgment
Their values, their likes and dislikes, their knowledge and experience, their prejudices are what ultimately determine your credibility to them.
Don’t rely on the content of your speech to gain credibility with the audience. Self-presentation is important too, since the audience will start judging us before we begin to speak.
Keep following 10 key points in mind to establish your credibility when you’re giving a speech:
4. Respect your audience
Think of your speech or presentation as a way of helping them. Show them how your idea–your presentation –will help them solve a problem of theirs or help them achieve a goal that matters to them.
5. Align with their values
When you speak to a skeptical audiences, begin by finding common ground. Acknowledge the appeal of opposing perspectives before you make a strong case for your own opinion.
6. Use evidence that they find credible
Facts and figures, respected authorities, charts and graphs, anecdotes and personal testimonials — they all convey differing degrees of credibility to differing audiences. Evidence that is conclusive to one audience may be dubious to another.
7. Be the embodiment of your message
You are the message. Everything about you (your character, knowledge, experience, values) and how you present yourself (your voice, your gestures, your facial expressions) will reinforce your credibility if and only if they are in alignment with what you’re saying.
8. Establish Authority
State the source of your authority: experience, training, or research. Refer to outside authorities. Put your perspective in context.
9. Dress the part
Find out how formal the occasion is and style yourself accordingly.
10. Look at the audience
Speakers who make eye contact with the audience appear more open, trustworthy, and confident.
11. Speak loudly, clearly, and confidently
Confidence is contagious–if you have confidence, the audience will catch it easily.
12. State your credentials
Trust is contagious too–audiences will trust you more readily if you can prove that other people value your expertise. Credentials include relevant degrees, certifications, testimonials, recommendations, work experience, volunteering experience, and informally, other types of personal experience.
13. Reveal a personal connection to your topic
How has the subject affected your life? If it is appropriate, share a personal anecdote that illustrates your relationship to the topic.
“The interesting thing about credibility is that it has to exist in the audience’s mind, not your own!”