3 Ways to Increase Your Credibility with Your Audience
The tips suggested in this article are addressed in my professional development programs to help scientists and engineers significantly increase their influence with their audiences.
3 Ways to Increase Your Credibility with Your Audience
You all know that your job credibility is key in determining your salary, your level of responsibility, and your reputation in your company.
How valuable would it be to you if I were to show you how to increase your credibility? Plenty, I imagine.
Today I will give you three fundamental ways to increase your credibility in front of your audiences. They are (1) Know the level your audience on your subject, (2) increase your influence with your audience through positive body language, and (3) become an expert at answering audience questions.
Know the Level of Your Audience on your Subject
It is important to know at what level your audience is on your subject. Now why is this important? For one very good reason – You can then adjust the level of the presentation for this particular audience. You don’t want to waste your time presenting information the audience already knows. The best way to determine what level your audience is at is to seek their feedback before the presentation. In addition to determining the level of your audience on your presentation subject, it also gives you the opportunity to determine any contrarian views to what you are presenting which allows you to incorporate items in your presentation that answer these contrarian views. Feedback prior to your presentation will also give you confidence in your subject and yourself.
Ken Blanchard of “One Minute Manager” fame said, “Feedback is the Breakfast of Champions.”
In the Air Force, we had another way of saying this, “Train the way you fight, and fight the way you train.”
How important is body language to interpersonal communication. According to Professor Albert Mehrabian, Professor Emeritus of Psychology at UCLA, fully 55% of communications is attributed to body language, 38% to tone of voice, and 7% to the actual words used. Think about it. Over half of your communication is your body language. You want your body language to enhance what you are saying and not dilute it. Body language includes eye contact, facial expressions, gestures, posture, and presence.
Increase Your Influence with Your Audience Through Positive Body Language
(1) Maintain eye contact with a variety of individual people in the audience. (2) Use facial expressions that are appropriate for different parts of your presentation. For example, if you are talking about a particular key part of your subject, squinting your eyes indicates to the audience what you are saying is particularly important.
(3) If possible, don’t hold anything in your hand. It cuts down on gestures which add to getting your point across. Time gestures to parts of your presentation that you want to emphasize. Practice gestures until they seem natural.
(4) Maintain an erect positive posture; don’t slump or rock back and forth or forward and backward. It distracts the audience and diminishes your credibility.
(5) Now we come to the elusive part of body language – presence. We all know that action follows thought, but you should also remember that thought can actually follow action. Act as you “own the room” and you will be surprised at how many times this becomes reality.
Why do we dread the question and answer period? We dread this part of our presentation because we don’t know exactly what questions will be asked. Earlier I talked of the best way to determine what level your audience is at is to seek their feedback before the presentation. This is a great way also to find out what questions they may ask during the presentation
Become an Expert in Answering Audience Questions
First, allow the questioner to fully ask their question. You would be surprised to know how many times the speaker actually starts answering the question before the question is fully asked.
Second, make it a practice to repeat the question so that you fully heard the question and understood it. This also gives your mind a mental break to think of a good answer.
It is entirely appropriate for you to ask the questioner a question if you do not have a full understanding of the question. This gives you even more time to prepare an answer.
She prepared meticulously. She tested all her presentation ideas and organization with many others. And then the question and answer period was upon her. It was rough with the audience’s knives sharpened. She spent the whole question and answer period answering questions looking at her feet. What could have prevented this from happening? If she had practiced her question and answer period with others with equally sharpened knives, she would have faired better
We agreed up front that your job credibility is key in determining your salary; your level of responsibility; and your reputation in your company and, thus, how valuable it would be to you if you could increase your credibility?
We have discussed three ways to increase your credibility: (1) Know at what level your audience is at on your subject, (2) Ensure your body language enhances your presentation, and (3) Become an expert in answering audience questions.
Go forth today and implement these tips and you too will see your credibility, prestige, and salary increase.
Looking for Professional Development Programs to Help Scientists and Engineers significantly increase their influence with their audiences?
With Greater Influence with Your Audience Comes Greater Credibility, Prestige, and Salary
Increase Your Speaking Credibility
Using a focused approach in considering your audience’s needs, Frank will help you clearly establish your presentation’s primary objectives in a powerful way. You will learn to eliminate distracting details, keep your audience focused on your main points, and maximize your influence.
Improve the Clarity of Your Speaking using a Focused Approach
Through highly effective presentation preparation and delivery techniques, Frank will teach you actionable skills for establishing an engaging connection with your audience, greatly increasing your credibility.
Propel Your Professional Career
The career-enhancing competencies Frank will teach you can be used both within and beyond your presentations. You will gain invaluable communication strategies and skills for future encounters such as interviews and performance evaluations. You will develop essential leadership skills to significantly influence your customers, co-workers, and employees.