What can I do to improve my credibility? It’s a question I’m asked a lot, and there is more than one correct answer. In fact, here are seven ways to build and keep — and, if necessary, win back — credibility:
1. Dress better. Let’s face it: We all are in the image business. If you want to be taken seriously, dress for success. That means you should look clean and neat, and wear shined shoes and clothes that fit well.
2. Speak better. The occasional colloquialism is OK, but if those are the only things that come out of your mouth, you could find yourself up for a role in the next season of Swamp People.
3. Know your stuff. Credibility starts with competency. Learn as much as you can from every verbal exchange. In my book, Accelerate the Sale: Kick-Start Your Personal Selling Style to Close More Sales, Faster, I asked executives about their greatest sale. The most frequent response I received? “My wife agreed to marry me.” (True story.) But the response that left the biggest impression on me was the guy who said, “My next one. Because I’ll know more, be able to do more and be able to help the customer more.” That’s a big idea.
4. Admit when you’ve erred. When you make a mistake, simply say, “I made a mistake. I’m sorry.” Then move on.
5. Channel Johnny Carson. Johnny Carson is one of my all-time favorite entertainers. When a guest would mention a piece of knowledge outside of Johnny’s realm, he didn’t try to take over the conversation or “one up” the guest. He simply said, “I did not know that.” That’s what I say now. You should, too.
6. Practice convergent validity. Make sure you have the correct information. Check with three different sources to get their take on a given situation. You’ll be shocked by how opinions vary. Doing this will help expand your network of contacts, better grasp the situation and make stronger decisions. And that, my friends, will give you greater credibility.
7. Guard your credibility. Your credibility is a precious commodity. Protect it with all you’ve got. Late in his baseball career, while playing injured, Joe DiMaggio still went all out during every at bat and every inning in the field. When a teammate said to him, “Hey, Joe, you’re hurt, take it easy,” Joe replied, “I can’t. There might be someone in the stands seeing me for the first time, and I don’t want to let them down.” Not a bad mindset for the rest of us.
Here’s to your credibility!
(Photo by Jared Erondu via Unsplash)