How to Build Instant Credibility

Easy tips you can use to help you win people over.

Posted Apr 21, 2013

Building credibility has more to do with your ability to tailor how you sell your expertise to your audience than demonstrating how well you are able to crunch numbers.

I’ve developed the following formula that’s helped me and hope it helps you as you start to build your career or entry into a new industry.

  • Self-Awareness
  • Profile
  • Rapport

Self-Awareness

It sounds simple – doesn’t it?  The reality is that many people are bad at understanding sense of self.  If you don’t believe me, I ask you to go to a co-worker that you don’t know, introduce yourself, have small talk for a few minutes, and ask them for their immediate impression about you.  Or if you don’t feel comfortable doing that, ask someone what were their first impressions when you first met.

In short, think of yourself as a 30 second commercial.  What would people think when they see you on that screen? and would they want to buy something from you (meaning would they buy you)?

For instance, when I first started public speaking, I thought my voice was at a 10 (10 being highest) but in reality it was a 4.  To master self-awareness, I became an adjunct professor, participated in a lot of networking events, and started doing more speaking engagements.

With years of this type of practice, I’ve managed to monitor how I come across to others and modify my behavior to align with the point I want to get across. 

There are many mediums that you can use to help you with building self-awareness such as Toastmasters or any other opportunity where you are able to speak in a publicly.

Profile

Going with the commercial analogy, would people buy your product (meaning you)?  Marketers spend a lot of time and energy in understanding their customer base and analyzing trends to better position their products for consumers to buy.  This concept isn’t different when building instant credibility.

One must understand the industry or organizational culture or team dynamic before moving forward in selling oneself.  This is a practice I’ve discussed on this website and eBook called Profiling. 

Profiling is important because it allows you to strategize on the best way for you to connect with your audience or individual. 

For example, last year I became a Board of Director for a fantastic non-profit called CAP21.  It’s an organization that focuses on building new theatre works as well as a theatre conservatory.  This organization is expanding and, as such, was looking for consultants to help them strategize on the best way to set them up for success. 

They had a few candidates they were considering including me.  I won the bid because in comparison to the other candidates, I was the only one that took the time to fully understand their business and speak in non industry terms (e.g., Work Breakdown Structure, etc.). 

So do as much research on your audience as you can.

Rapport

Closing off on the commercial analogy, would people relate to the product you are trying to sell and would they be loyal customers?  Having information on your audience is only half the equation.  The other half is your ability to build rapport. 

To build rapport, you need to be able to find information that you can authentically relate too.  I say authentic because people can sense a phony a mile away and besides I would never suggest that individuals lie about their interests.

Leveraging the profile, I would look inwards to find aspects of my personal experiences that can relate to the profile. 

For instance, for CAP21, I was able to draw upon the fact that I used to be in the entertainment business when I was a teenager.  This gave me a competitive advantage in building instant credibility because I knew where to go to conduct my research and adapt my communication approach. 

The goal here is to find aspects of oneself that relates to aspects of the audience you are looking to gain credibility from. 

Let me know what you think.