When I first changed careers ten years ago from a pharmaceutical engineer to a professional speaker, I thought that I had no credibility as a professional speaker (because I lacked the background and relevant experience).
As a result, I started to brag about myself to overcompensate – but as you probably know that rarely works.
A mentor of mine at the time told me that instead of trying to prove my credibility, I should just focus on my message and make my message more credible.
That was a relief at the time, and it is still a relief now. Once you make sure your message is credible, then you don’t need to prove yourself anymore. You will get credibility by default of the message.
Here are four ways to make your message more credible. Try to use and combine all of them in every presentation you do.
1 – Be specific and tangible with your language
Instead of saying ” Today, I will talk about our power plant.”
Say: “Today, I will cover three things about our power plant. One is our upgrade status, two our new safety protocol, three our joint venture partnership with PG&E.”
Notice that I added more details to make it more tangible and less vague.
2 – Cite internal studies or external sources
Instead of saying that “our technology increases click-through ratio.”
Say “According to an internal study we conducted with 2500 vendors, our Play click Technology increases click-through ratio by 23%.”
Notice that I referenced an internal study and also made it more specific from point 1.
3. Use your own experience
Instead of saying “we should use the Nimble Platform for our CRM initiative.”
Say, “I’ve been using Nimble for the past two weeks, and I’ve done more CRM documentation and tracking on it than I’ve done with X platform in the past year. I think it would be a great idea to have all our team migrate to it.”
Notice that I’ve used my personal experience to add value and credibility to my suggestion.
4. Make the message audience-centric
If you read my articles, you notice that I use “audience-centric” a lot, that’s because the audience is what the presentation is about. It is never about you. Isn’t that a relief? It’s always about your audience.
The more it is about them, the more credible the message will get. Because people like to hear about themselves.
Think about their needs, their issues, their language, their level of understanding and explain the ideas so that it’s clear to them and you have nothing to fear.
Of course, there are more than four ways to make your message more credible, but I think these are a very good start.
Even if you use these tips on credibility, you might still get some disagreements from your audience every once in a while. That is fine – it does not mean that the message is not credible and it does not mean that you are not a credible speaker.
Some disagreement is a healthy part of every dialogue and whatever they say is feedback for you to make your message even better the next time you speak.
To this day I am still reaping the benefits of my mentor’s advice – Don’t try to force your credibility on people, just make your message more credible, and by default, you will be viewed as a credible presenter.
PS. Having a mentor or a speaking coach is a great thing. It made a massive impact on my skills and confidence. As a professional speaker, I still have mentors and coaches to this day because it keeps me growing and developing.