If you haven’t got cred, why get out of bed?
Whether you are a university professor battling your painful way up the academic ladder, an independent trainer providing stimulating sessions in a classroom, or, a coach drumming up new clients, there will be one thing that walks into the room before you do – Your Credibility.
It is the label that attaches to you. If you are late for a dinner party or social gathering you will be introduced with that label or property – “Sarah Smith is coming, you know, the one who XXX.” Where XXX represents your reputation / key knowledge asset or the story that sticks to you most.
In the next post – Credibility Part 3, we will outline the key actions you must take in order to boost your credibility to the max and escape any negative aspect of your reputation that is holding you back.
So, what are the components of your credibility? Let us skim the surface with just 11.
*1. Skills and competence – We would not be having this conversation if you were not talented, brimming with potential and waiting to add value to various groups and communities. It is the things you know, can apply and that have an effect that are important.
Action – Make a note of all the skills, competences and value you have and can bring to a group. When you carry out this exercise with true diligence, the breadth of your list may surprise you.
- Benevolent energy – Basically are you a nice person, doing nice things for people who have a clear need? It is the opposite of malevolence – wanting something bad to a happen to a group of people – Imagine the rare instance of a racist politician (hard though that is to imagine.)
Action – Take a brief look in the mirror and ask yourself if you want something good for your target audience? We wish you well with your answer.
- Consistency – When you keep your promise, show up on time and deliver results, your credibility will skyrocket. It is simple, though many fail to recognize the importance of this component.
Action – Honesty test – Are you a woman / man of your word?
- Look and smell like a winner. As I write this piece it is London Fashion Week (It seems like it always is.) Magazines, Hollywood gossip or Friday night at the pub – The focus is on outer appearance. We are simple forest creatures and we pick our mates and leaders visually. So, you do need to look the part. Tall people do better. Blondes outscore brunettes and bald men are paid less that the lion maned – Nobody said life was fair.
Action – I did attend a serious conference in Germany a few years back that included a specialist on this topic and she concluded that we should all rush out and get a lift, tuck and liposuction! Food for thought…
- Eloquent Connecters – We have included two components here for expediency. If you can start with your audience – Work out who they are and communicate effectively with them, you will gain great credibility rapidly. It is less about you and more about them. On top of this if you have a memorable and effective public speaking style, then you will gain bonus credibility points and will experience more control over your own destiny.
Action – Study influencing techniques, learn advanced presentation skills and book yourself some singing lessons this week.
- Quality – “Good is not longer good enough. You now have to be remarkable.” (Seth Godin) Excellence is the new normal and we all have to step up in ALL areas. Charm will take you just so far (my spelling mistakes are charming to all those who are not full-on OCD.) Taking your work and output to a new level of accuracy, depth and style will make a big difference.
Action – Use editors and designers, and, practice your pitch in front of constructive critics to take your game up a level.
- Be a problem solver (and not the problem) The parenthesise refer to Princes and Princess who are perceived as being high maintenance. This becomes their label and overshadows talent, value and core message. There is nothing more attractive to an audience than a fixer, travelling through work and life being willing and able to untangle cables, solve the issue with the numbers, and, move on to deliver results, solve the puzzle and allow others to win.
Action – Please attempt to be user friendly. Practice root cause analysis and problem solving. Learn how the world works and give away your victories.
- Reframe pessimism as optimism – Are you a radiator or a drain? Do you suck the life out of a room or illuminate the space in front of you? When you replace low energy passivity with realistic enthusiasm, you will be loved. When you take the negative and reframe it positively, you will be respected. It is easy to join in with a depressed bunch and chime in with the collective moaning – misery loves company. Please do not be tempted to do this. It will become your label. Whinging Winston / Wendy. Nobody will want you at their party.
Action – Practice reframing low energy, blocked and negative group input constructively and positively, adding energy and inspiration into the mix for good measure.
- Become the Go To Expert GTE – Taking a couple of the points above, there is a space waiting for you as a Subject Matter Expert – SME. This is about depth and breadth –Mastery of content. When you get there you will, automatically become the GO TO EXPERT person. Is that what you crave? Can you handle the pressure? Are you prepared to step up, take on the role? And deliver?
Action – Study, learn, read, ask to become an SME in your chosen field.
- Opinion Leader – Subtly different from point 9. Being an OL is a specific role that combines expertise with communication. It is the embodiment of Credibility in action. It actively connects the value that you have with the attention, need and desire of your audience to engage with you, follow you, relate to your purpose and DO WHAT YOU SUGGEST. When you are at this level (the top of the mountain), you will have the power to drive audiences to take meaningful action. You will be able to direct attention to a fruitful and ethical agenda, and, you will be able to make a leveraged difference through the crowd you have gathered. It is an awesome space with a large quotient of moral responsibility. SO – PLEASE – USE YOUR PLATFORM WISELY.
Action – Decide upon a utilitarian path, do the work to get to the top, use your powers for good, and, DO NOT BELIEVE ALL THE HYPE.
You will have noticed the common themes of selflessness, great communication, inclusion of others, putting in the work and keeping to an ethical stance. The rest is up to you.
Question – What will precede you into the room in one year’s time? That depends on what you start doing now.
About the Author – Matthew Hill is a trainer, coach, facilitator, author, public speaker and broadcaster, helping executives and leaders to uncover their soft skills talent, strengthen their competences and, whilst reaching their own potential, benefit their teams and their environment.