People judge your credibility from three perspectives.
Your character, competence, and charisma.
Here’s how to be perceived as more credible.
People judge your credibility through their senses. Primarily, they will see and hear you.
So, you must appear and sound credible. Here’s how to do it…
To look like you have a good character, make sure you fit someone’s idea of a good character. You will have to look very different if you want to convince an audience of hipsters compared to an audience of wheat farmers. The iconic image of a good character for a group of Wall Street bankers will look very different to that for a bunch of Hollywood movie makers.
Similarly, you need to sound right for those who are listening. If you are on a late-night TV comedy show, you may need to talk fast and add big spoonfuls of irony and cynicism. If you are speaking to a group of worshippers in a church on Sunday morning, you may need to speak with a slow, deliberate and deep tone.
I’m not saying you should fake it. You have to fit yourself to your audience, and they have to fit you.
When people are looking and listening, you will have to say things that demonstrate that you share their values. Even better if you have a more profound insight that they do in their normal workaday lives. Refer to a source of information that they trust. Make a joke that shows that you get what is real and what is not from their perspective.
Once people sense and assess that you have sound values, you have taken the first step.
Notice that, when they have looked and listened, their mind begins to calculate. Especially on those things you have said.
Once you can show and prove that you share their values, the rest of the task becomes a little easier.
To show people your level of competence, you can rely on your record. If that’s enough, you are pretty much on your way. Your qualifications, experience, or fame precede you. Fantastic.
If you don’t have that to go on, you will have to show how competent you are. If you are a magician do your best trick with a scintillating sleight of hand. If you are a mathematician demonstrate your command of a complex formula. If you are a floor gymnast, perform a full twisting, double pike and land it with aplomb.
You don’t have to demonstrate your competence all the time, just early on after your values have been established.
Lastly, to appear to be credible, you have to show that you are charismatic. How do you do that? Turn back to people’s senses.
Charismatic people usually appear to be dynamic and attractive.
Dynamism is shown usually through physical or intellectual agility. That means you must seem to be active. You don’t have to be a gymnast (mental or physical). You can show your agility with your body by moving quickly and expertly. You could move your hands. You could even move your face. Anything will do, but you have to look like you are energized. You are showing that you’ve got that spark.
Attractiveness is not as simple as looking beautiful, although that will help no end. Sometimes ugly people can attract attention because people assume they have an unusual character. So, being attractive is more about drawing people’s attention rather than just simply being nice to look at. Attractive is as attractive does.
If you put those three elements together (character, competence, and charisma), the chances of people deciding that you are more credible will rise fast.
I’ve got a couple more useful tips.
You may notice that you are good at, say, two of those three elements but weak in one. Well, you better focus on the weak one and get that sorted.
If you are great at displaying competence and charisma, you’d better start saying what your values are so that people can trust you. Otherwise, your effort will be wasted.
If you are attractive but static, the classic ice queen (or king), you’d better start moving around so that people know you are alive and breathing. No-one watches a statue for long.
Establishing credibility is one of the most important methods of creating your place in the world.
No, that’s not true.
It is the most important.