It’s well documented that people form an impression of us based on the first few seconds of meeting them. Every now and again your credibility is at stake, and it’s important to portray yourself as an expert or someone that is respected. This could be in a new business meeting, a presentation, an interview or perhaps the first day in a new role as a leader.
So what does credibility mean?
Essentially it’s a combination of knowledge, expertise and reliability. But the key word is probably ‘believability’ – do people feel they can believe in you?
Can you make good decisions, will you add something valuable and useful?
If so, you will progress both as an individual and as somebody who can further a cause or add value to an organisation.
What can you do to make sure you come across as credible?
Listen more than you talk – Some people think that they need to spout about their achievements and their credentials to appear credible. In actual fact, this can have the opposite effect. It’s far better to listen carefully and respond to what you are hearing than talk yourself into a corner, or worse, talk over somebody else. You have two ears and one mouth. Use them in that ratio.
Be Yourself – Don’t pretend to be something you’re not. It’s easy to spot when somebody is trying to ‘big themselves up’ or pretend they know about something that they don’t. It’s far more authentic to admit you don’t know something, or simply to stay quiet on the matter.
Be ‘socially generous’ – There are certain people that are easy to be around, that don’t mind helping out or sharing their knowledge in order to help others. Be one of those people.
Treat everybody the same – Have you ever heard the expression ‘be nice to people on the way up because you’ll meet them on the way down’? Have respect for everybody you meet whether you perceive them to be junior or senior to you.
Be trustworthy – Be somebody that people know they can rely on, who won’t let them down, who will be helpful and supportive. And don’t make the mistake of promising something if you’re not sure if you can deliver it. Manage expectations. Have you ever ordered something with a 5 day delivery time and received it early? That’s a nice surprise! But if you ordered the same thing with a 3 day delivery and it arrived on day 4 you would be disappointed. Same service, different expectation.
Stay true to yourself – If you have an opinion, don’t be afraid to share it, even if it differs from somebody else’s. You can respectfully disagree, and sometimes if your case is clear the other person may change their opinion. If not, accept your differences and move on.