Fourth "C of Trust"
can stand as the greatest orator the world has known, possess
the quickest mind, employ the cleverest psychology, and have
mastered all the technical devices of argument, but if one is
not credible one might just as well preach to the pelicans.”
– Gerry Spence, trial lawyer –
Daniel O’Keefe defines credibility as “judgments made
by a perceiver concerning the believability of a communicator.”
Edward Murrow said, “To be persuasive, we must be believable.
To be believable, we must be credible. To be credible, we must
be truthful.” Credibility is in the eye of the beholder and
it is a quality that is constantly changing. Credibility can be
high and low in the same presentation with the same audience. Credibility
can change with time, presentation, or somebody else’s opinion.
of credibility present themselves during a persuasive encounter:
(Pre): This happens even before you open
your mouth. How you are introduced, your reputation,
books you have written,
your degrees, etc., all of
these things create initial credibility.
is everything you say during your speech. This type of credibility
is similar to a thermometer:
It will rise
and fall throughout your presentation.
is your credibility at the end of your speech. Did you win
you audience over or not?
Are they even more
convinced than they were before you began?
To boost your
credibility, find out who your audience knows and respects. See
if you can get that person’s endorsement, either
in person or in writing. Master Persuaders know that it’s
okay to borrow the credibility of others. When you gain this support,
your audience will consider you to be even more credible. If you
are a known expert in your field, be sure to communicate that you
have studied it, researched it, and met with its other experts.
Also, be prepared to drop the names of people your audience will
to boost your credibility is to present yourself in a calm, organized,
and authoritative manner. Being
or flustered throws your credibility out the window. Consider the
most highly successful attorneys or CEOs. No matter how rushed
or pressured they are, you don’t ever see them running into
the room, slamming their stuff down on the table, and throwing
themselves into their chair. No! They are absolutely composed at
all times. They have to convey an air of authority and control.
Jury studies show that lawyers who appear well organized are thought
of as being more thorough and better prepared, which of course
increases their credibility.
issue to consider is how involved your audience is in the topic
you’re going to present to them, emotionally
or otherwise. If they are highly involved, you will have a harder
time gaining credibility – unless, of course, you’re
telling them what they want to hear! An audience with low involvement
in a particular issue is more likely to defer to other sources
(including you) because it requires less mental strain or emotional
investment than trying to figure it out for themselves.
It’s generally harder to gain credibility now than it ever
has been in the past. Most consumers are fairly sophisticated and
have grown cynical from all the exaggerated and unsubstantiated
hype being thrown at them. People who feel they have been burned
in the past have developed thick skins to almost every persuasive
message they are exposed to. In fact, according to the Pretesting
Company, advertising’s overall impact in the United States
has gone down from 61% in1986 to 38% today. Here are ten ways
you can increase your credibility in spite of all the skepticism:
sure your appearance is polished and professional. How do you
look, dress, and appear to your audience? Do you
appear self-assured and in control of the situation? Do
good eye contact?
- Use highly
credible sources, facts, statistics, and stories. Cite evidence,
identify sources, and give source qualifications.
Write and publish relevant articles or publish
your audience. Be sure you explain the issue in terms that
are relevant to them. Demonstrate
that you have their best
interest in mind.
your background, expertise, and qualifications so your audience
you have the credibility to
them on the subject matter. Display or promote
your qualifications as a means of conferring
you status and expertise.
a language and style suitable to the listener, the topic, and
vocal fillers like um,
er, and ah. They
detract from the message and your credibility.
Use assertive language.
your similarities in a way that makes them relevant to your
find it easier to
identify with sources
they perceive as similar to themselves.
Use similar industries, colleges, home
sports teams – anything
to strike a chord of familiarity, a technique
that breeds instant rapport.
another highly credibile individual (in the eyes of your audience)
you. Testimonials substantiate
Find third party testimonials that
endorse your position.
- Be prepared,
be organized, and know your position. Make that great first
impression. Make sure your presentation
and polished. Educate, inspire, and
entertain with passion, compassion,
sure any printed material or literature you will be handing
has been carefully
proofread and presented
in a neat and
professional manner. Nothing detracts
from your credibility more than
material. Make sure all your
is appropriate and understandable.
- Be prompt.
People who are always showing up late are considered
less competent, less composed,
who arrive on time.
the next Millionaire Diamond Mine, we will review
the Fifth of
The Five Cs of Trust: Congruence.
taken from Magnetic Persuasion by Kurt Mortensen
Mortensen, author of Exponential Success Skills and Weapons
of Influence, is one of American’s leading authorities
on Persuasion, Motivation and Influence. After receiving a
Masters of Business Administration and a Bachelors of Arts,
he began many successful entrepreneurial ventures, through
which he has acquired many years of both experience and success.
In addition to his extensive entrepreneurial and sales experiences,
Kurt is a sales and persuasion coach helping thousands of people
reach higher levels of success, income and persuasion mastery.
Currently, he is a speaker, consultant, and a Trainer for Mark
Victor Hansen and Robert G. Allen Protégés.