Have you heard someone speak whom you thought lacked credibility? Did you dismiss what he or she had to say because you thought it was probably not true? That's what typically happens when a speaker lacks credibility. While it's always important to be thought of as believable, it's especially important when you speak to a group of people, and vital if you plan to deliver a persuasive presentation. Without credibility, members of the audience may dismiss what you have to say as either unimportant or untrue. The guidelines that follow are provided to help you learn how to become a more believable speaker.
Be accurate and exact with quotes, names, dates, and facts.
If you want people to believe you, you have to earn their trust. That means getting the facts straight. Research the information you're going to present to make sure it's accurate and make sure you report it correctly. Practice pronouncing names correctly, and state dates, facts, and quotes accurately. Copy information that you think you might state incorrectly and read it from your notes if necessary.
Provide support for your ideas.
It's not enough just to make a statement, you need to back it up by providing factual information, quoting an expert, or speaking from experience. The point is, it's not enough to state your ideas, you need to be able to explain why you have those ideas.
Dress in a professional manner.
If you want to be taken seriously, then dress accordingly. Being the worst dressed person in the room just won't do. You don't need to have the most expensive clothes or the most current wardrobe, but do look well groomed. Like it or not, research has determined that people are influenced by the appearance of the speaker.
Use visual aids that look professional.
Visual aids can enhance your presentation if they are well designed and look professional. Be certain to use the visual aids when you practice your presentation.
Know your material.
Knowing the material will help you speak more quickly and fluidly. Research has shown that a speaker's credibility is enhanced by speaking more quickly and without hesitation (uh, well, you know) or qualifiers (sort of, kind of, I guess). People who speak faster are perceived to be more intelligent, more confident, and more effective than people who speak slower. Knowing your material will also help you reduce hesitations and qualifiers that might diminish credibility.
Use language that's appropriate for the audience.
Don't try to impress them by using words they don't understand. If your subject is new to audience members, be certain to explain jargon they might not comprehend. Also, be certain to use your best grammar. Slang can be appropriate for the right audience, but the use of incorrect grammar may be taken as a lack of knowledge on your part.