Tuesday, January 19th, 2021

What Makes You Credible?


 trainingHow credible are you? On your first meeting with someone what conclusions are they drawing about you? Hmmm… do you know? Every day when you step out into the world you tell people who you are and if they can trust you – without even saying a word. Why does being trusted matter? It matters because people only want to associate with others they feel they can trust.

In the first few seconds of meeting you, people make decisions of who you are based on what they see. What they see is your appearance (how you’re dressed and groomed), your behaviour (your body language) and your communication ( what you say and your etiquette) – appearance, behaviour and communication make up your image.

Appearance is how the world sees you – how you’re dressed and groomed. To gain credibility your appearance has to be in alignment with who you say you are. If you look and act like you don’t care, no one will take you seriously. Whether you’re a mechanic or business owner, your appearance is speaking for you.

Even a mechanic who works in dirt and grease has to take care of his appearance if he wants to get customers. For example, who would you trust more, a mechanic who is full of grease and dirt from head- to -toe, with tattered clothes and a 2-day old beard; or one who is wearing coveralls, is clean-shaven and looks like he’s been working but takes cares of himself?

When we see someone who isn’t taking care of himself/herself we instantly wonder (either consciously or subconsciously) if they will do the job with care or if they can do the job at all.

Here are a few other examples of when an incongruent appearance lets us down:

  1. The doctor who is wearing jeans and a T-shirt
  2. The psychologist who is wearing a hoodie with a cartoon character on it
  3. The banker who needs grooming – long hair, unruly eyebrows
  4. The salesperson (at a trade show) showing cleavage
  5. A university registrar wearing a short skirt and bare legs
  6. A cook wearing a dirty, white apron

Would you trust any of these people to take care of your business, health or money? Not likely when there are others who are dressed appropriately and you don’t have to wonder if they know what they’re doing.

Or would you trust these:

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Since dressing is something we’ve always done and do on a daily basis, it seems easy. Yes, it is easy to put on clothes, but not as easy to do it well

The second element of image is behaviour. It’s not enough to dress well and be well groomed if your behaviour isn’t keeping up.

Your behaviour is also talking and telling everyone who you are. For example, would you trust a person who won’t look you in the eye? Would you want a friend who talks nonstop and never listens to what you have to say? What about the person who ‘knows everything’? Would you hire them? There are endless examples of bad behaviour; some are simply bad manners, while others are attitude.

Body language, another component of image, is what your body is saying when you aren’t uttering a word. Your body language tells everyone how you really feel- shuffling of feet, fidgeting body movements; or, great posture and a confident stride. Body language works two ways: You can change your body movements and improve how you feel; or you can change how you feel and your body movements will change.

Slump over and notice how you feel, then stand up straight and notice the difference. Smile (even if you don’t feel like it) and notice how much better you feel. Just simple body movements make a big difference. Body language sends out signals. For example, moving closer tells others we’re interested, or moving away signals that you’re in my space or I want to leave.

The last aspect of having a great image is communication. Communication is not just what you say, it’s how you say it. It’s the tone of your voice and how you communicate in a variety of ways – email, letter and in-person. It’s also about how you say what you mean, how you react to what others say and your etiquette. For example, being true to your word – doing what you say you will do. Being able to ask for what you want and say what you don’t want are examples of good communication skills

If you take a minute and think of people who are charismatic you’ll notice that they have confident body language, are impeccably dressed and have good manners.

Those who don’t think image is important are sadly mistaken, or worse they have a poor image and don’t know it. The tricky thing is, if some aspect of your image is lacking, no one is likely to tell you and those who are closest to you who might tell you, probably don’t know. What can you do? Start by reading this blog post. “How to Know You’re Credible”.

Your image is always impacting your results. No matter what you want your image impacts your results. It might be something as important as getting a great job, a promotion, customers or getting a good seat in a restaurant. Your image is either working for or against you. How is yours doing?