Three Ways to Build Your Credibility

Over the last four months the headlines proclaim danger, danger, danger! As we face the challenge of the spread of a dangerous virus, we face the challenge of bringing our teams together in a new and unique work environment, relying on technology to communicate instead meeting with people in person. It can take a long time to build a solid business relationship and only a few misspoken words or actions to break it apart. An unknown person once said, “Trust usually takes years to build, seconds to break, and forever to repair.” If you are concerned that this virtual world may decrease your credibility here are three things you can do to build (or repair) maintain the trust and respect of the people you work with. Be true to your word, take responsibility for your actions and align your body language with your words.
You build credibility by doing what you say you are going to do. Promise an employee you will investigate a complaint and you fail to follow through, you lose credibility. Avoid making promises you know you can’t keep. Failing to live up to expectations, both explicit and implicit promises, can destroy a business relationship.
Let another person take the blame for something you did or failed to do; you lose credibility. You build trust with your people by your day to day actions. If your actions are consistently positive, supportive, and truthful day in and day out and you make a mistake, you will most likely be forgiven. On the other hand if people never know what to expect from you, you are moody and negative, you fail to return calls or e-mails or fail to support someone and you make a mistake, people are much less likely to forgive and forget.
Align your verbal language with your body language. In the 1950’s professor of psychology, Albert Mehrabian, studied the importance of non-verbal communication and the effects of conflicting messages. He developed the 7-38-55 communication model. Mehrabian found that 7% of the what we communicate comes from our words, 38% comes from our tone of voice and 58% from our body language. And all three must be congruent for us to be credible. If you are yelling and screaming, and you say you aren’t angry or upset there is a disconnect between your words and your actions. And if someone asks, “how are you?” and you respond by whispering, “Fine.”, with shoulders slumped and downcast eyes the person who asked you won’t believe you. In a virtual world, where we are living on camera most of the focus is on your face. Be certain to align your words, voice, and face. Have your camera at eye level so your head and shoulders are in the center of the screen. Check your lighting so the light comes from behind the camera, not behind you. This will allow others to see your face without shadows. Avoid the temptation to multitask or shift your attention away from the screen. Smile at the camera, sit up straight, and focus your attention on the conversation. On screen actions bolster or diminish your credibility. 
Need to create a plan to improve your credibility? Let’s talk. Contact me to schedule your complimentary conversation today.