If you go to a medical facility for treatment, you had better have your birth date—day, month, and year—on the tip of your tongue because you will be asked to repeat that date by each person who assists you.
When you have to provide a password for the first time, you must repeat it on the next line.
When you fly, you had better not lose your boarding pass because you will show it to the person checking your identification getting through security and show it again as you board the plane. If you are flying internationally, you may be required to show the boarding pass several times more.
Years ago, simply telling your name or showing your driver’s license was about all you needed to make a trip, purchase an item, or go the doctor. No more.
Trust is a precious commodity, and because people continue to abuse that precious asset, we have to prove who we are with various kinds of evidence.
Because of this trend, as speakers it is even more important that we do what we can to develop trust from our audiences. Somewhere in the early part of your presentation, you should build credibility in a way that earns the trust of your audience. Here are some ways to do that.
Show your personal concern for the group by referring to a project they are involved with, or mention an organization that many in the group contribute their time or money to. Perhaps you can mention your connection with a person in the audience that you know all respect.
In a way that is not bragging, mention your expertise as you give a piece of evidence or a case study to make a point. For example, since I deliver an after-dinner speech that includes auctions, I might say, “I remember as a teenager, watching my uncle crying an auction; I would later practice the chant in the privacy of a hayfield.” Later in the speech I actually conduct a short, entertaining auction.
Before speaking, do your homework and check all sources for data you may provide. Perhaps call a source to verify a quotation or statistic. Keep careful records on sources.
You can buy about anything but trust. It isn’t as simple as repeating something once or twice, as in birth dates or passwords. You earn trust. As Edward R. Murrow once said, “To be persuasive we must be believable; to be believable we must be credible; to be credible we must be truthful.”
Stephen D. Boyd, Ph.D., CSP, is Professor Emeritus of Speech Communication, College of Informatics, Northern Kentucky University, near Cincinnati. He presents keynotes and seminars to corporations and associations whose people want to speak and listen effectively. See additional articles and resources at www.sboyd.com. To book Steve, call 800-727-6520 or email him through his website.