Establish Your Credibility For Better Public Relations
I had a college professor one semester that was so captivating
in his lectures that I was hesitant to leave when the class was
over. I probably would have been content to sit there and listen
to him spout off about anything as long as he kept talking. He
was interesting, yes, but even if he had stated that cats could
talk and buildings could walk, I probably would have believed
him solely based on how much I trusted and respected his
There are many aspects of public speaking that should be taken
into account when incorporating speeches and presentations into
a public relations campaign. One of the first ones that should
be considered, though, is the issue of credibility.
What is credibility? Well, it incorporates a lot of things, but
the main point to remember is that when you are credible, people
are more inclined to trust you and believe that you are a
reliable source of information.
So how do you go about building your credibility? Well, let's
take a closer look at what defines credibility.
Competence: If you stand up in front of an audience and decide
to talk about Darwinian logic without any sort of conception of
who Darwin even was, your audience probably isn't going to
believe that you have the authority to be speaking on such a
subject. However, if you list your information sources in your
presentation along with a quote or visual aid, your audience
will know that you did your research, and that you know your
Other ways to show your competence is to let the audience know
about your educational or professional background. You don't
have to sound like you're putting on airs here, because the
simple truth is that the more work you've done in a specific
area, the more you will know about the topic.
Confidence: Looking like you are nervous and uncomfortable
doesn't say much for your knowledge. It doesn't matter if you
spent twenty five years living with gorillas, people aren't
going to have nearly as much respect for your points about
primate communication if you don't look like you have any
self-assurance. Delivery packs just as much of a punch as a
thorough intellect, as long as you remember that you need both
to give a great presentation.
Character: Character is a little trickier, because it's based
more on a values system than on how much you know about
something. If you've researched your audience's demographics
beforehand, you will have more of an idea what sort of issues
they will or will not respond to. Even if you are presenting
something that is the antithesis of everything they stand for,
you can still find ways to word your arguments so that you will
appear credible and non threatening.
Rapport: Ah, rapport. Common experiences and interests are what
help us as humans relate to each other. If your audience knows
you share similar feelings with them, they will be more likely
to respond to your message in a positive way.
As a society, the majority of individuals tend to hold a pretty
similar system of values that you can use to help you build your
own credibility. Social and community values seek to attain such
ideals as peace, freedom, respect, family security, and living a
comfortable life. Personal values for the individual show that
most people wish to be ambitious, forgiving, responsible, and
honest. By demonstrating that you stand for similar ideals as
your audience, you help maintain a component of trust.
Once your audience has a built a foundation of trust and
respect, your message will seep in a lot more easily than if you
have little or no credibility. Keep in mind that you can't
cruise through a presentation on credibility alone, but it will
certainly help your case by leaps and bounds