As a presenter, you will find yourself in front of audiences of all different ages and demographics. With each new audience will come the need to build credibility fast. With some audiences, you will be forced to prove you know what you’re talking about to a room of experts. Or, you’ll need to engage a room of millennials and show you are relevant to their lives. Still yet, you might have to stand before a boardroom of executives and confidently argue your position.
With such a short window to build this credibility before delivering your content, we have put together 3 tricks to build your credibility in minutes.
Dress for the room.
One of the quickest ways to gain credibility with your audience is by dressing in a way that resonates with your audience. It may be tempting to dress for every presentation in your new suit, but only do so if it makes sense for the occasion. A suit communicates professionalism, and when worn in the wrong context, it can also communicate a lack of research or insight into your audience. If you’re presenting to a room of technology experts who dress in jeans and a polo every day, consider wearing dress pants and a polo instead. Dress a level just above the standard dress of the audience so you’re relatable and trustworthy. By dressing based on the culture of your audience, you communicate that you belong which automatically builds credibility.
Lead with your experience.
The first thing that an audience will look for when you begin a presentation is whether or not they believe you know what you are talking about. I use the word “believe” strategically, because when it comes to credibility, perception is everything. If they don’t believe you know what you are talking about, then your audience won’t believe you. Use your introduction to share your experience in your particular field and why you are the expert that they should listen to. Be careful not to simply rattle off a list of degrees as our current culture is filled with college degrees. Instead, list specific real-world experience that supports those degrees and shows you deserve the title of expert.
Present in a confidently humble manner.
As an expert and thought leader, it can be easy to come across as arrogant; after all, you have been asked to present because you’re the perceived expert on that content. While confidence can build credibility with an audience, arrogance can destroy it just as quickly. When a person is perceived as arrogant, the audience may feel as though they’re belittling or condescending, which will make the audience tune out quickly. As a presenter, you must learn to walk the find line of humble confidence, allowing your audience to see that while you believe you are the expert, you are not above learning and discovering. What this communicates is that you care deeply about your content and are always seeking to better yourself which in turn builds your credibility.
Credibility is vital to a successful presentation. If an audience feels you are credible, they are more likely to listen and engage with what you are presenting to them. On the flip side, if you are perceived to lack credibility, there is a greater likelihood that your audience will listen but not engage with you in the long run. By implementing these three tricks, you are setting yourself up to wow your audience and grow your engagement from the start.
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