5 ways to increase your business and personal credibility

We previously mentioned that building a solid reputation and good credibility takes some time and effort. There are ways you can make sure you are on the right track to building yours and directing your energy toward the right effort.

1. Evidence

No, this isn’t only a term used in a crime scene. Evidence is a term describing the way an existence of a fact is shown. It is useful in an argument and is a rational and logical means to make a point. If you or your business have little credibility, any evidence you present is better than no evidence and can increase others’ willingness to believe you.

Examples of evidence can include customer testimonials, statistics or word of mouth.

By providing people with evidence, you appeal to their logical reasoning and increase your credibility.

2. Consistency

We all know that people feel most comfortable when they can predict the outcomes of events, processes and behaviour – of businesses and individuals. Consistency increases your credibility because people know what they can expect from you – making you credible.

You can display consistency through maintaining the values you choose to uphold, the customer service your business displays, the quality of workmanship and messages you send out to the public. Sending inconsistent messages confuses people as they don’t know which messages to believe or whether to believe you at all.

3. Knowledge

Bearing in mind that expertness is a pillar of credibility, becoming more knowledgeable of a topic and showing that you know what you are talking about increases your credibility because people realise they can trust in you and your capabilities.

Your work and advice will become more credible backed by skill and expertise.

4. Ethics

Ethics refer to a business or person’s judgement on what’s right or wrong, good or bad. People and businesses that have good ethics are credible because people trust them to do the right thing, consistently. Consistency is a part of ethics because ethics are what drives a person or business to act in a certain way and deliver a certain standard of work that can be anticipated. If a business or person isn’t true to these

ethics or they are just ‘smoke and mirrors’ it will show very quickly through various inconsistencies.

By staying true to your ethics and knowing what you stand for, you can automatically increase your credibility by being truly authentic.

5. Verbal and non-verbal communication

Consider the following scenario: You are talking to a potential consultant for your company who sent through a wonderful proposal. While they are explaining how much they are going to transform your company, they are jittery and not making eye-contact with you. You probably wouldn’t hire them since their verbal and non-verbal communication contradict each other. If these communication factors were to complement each other then the consultant would seem sincere and their credibility would increase.

By paying attention to how your verbal and non-verbal messages compliment or contradict each other, you can come across as sincere and increase your credibility.

Of course, you can only fix this if you understand the types of non-verbal messages you may be sending out.

Types of non-verbal messages

1. Kinesics: These include messages we send using our bodies – body language. Kinesics include physical appearance, posture, facial expressions, eye movements, head movements and hand gestures.

2. Proxemics: The physical space you choose to keep between you and other people communicates how comfortable you feel around them and what sort of relationship you have with them.

People also use space to communicate ownership of a certain area – you can’t tell the new guy at work not to sit at a certain desk because it is yours if you have nothing on there marking your ownership of that area.

3. Chronemics: This refers to messages sent out through your respect for others’ time, time you want to spend with others and what sort of time you are operating on (formal or informal time). Someone operating on informal time can’t be held credible to attend meetings on time and their commitment to an important event may be questioned because of how they treat time.

4. Haptics: The way we interact with people and even items through touch sends out non-verbal messages.

5. Paralanguage: When watching a presentation by someone with a loud voice that carries over a crowd versus someone soft spoken, you will be more inclined to pay attention to the louder person based on their vocal cues. They will come across as confident and more knowledgeable compared to the other softer

spoken individual. This is known as paralanguage – these vocal cues have no structure in the human language and consist of your tone, pace, volume and pitch.

By improving on these 5 areas in your business or personal capacity, you may be able to build a credible reputation far quicker than you think and maintain that reputation by always paying attention to these elements during your interactions with others.

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