Skip to main content
Five Ways to Build Credibility in Any Conversation
Female software engineer in meeting by whiteboard

5 Ways to Build Credibility

1. Build Consistency into all your actions

2. “Dress” the Part

3. Use Credentials powerfully and appropriately

4. Leverage Social Proof

5. Create an Early Win

Build Consistency into all your actions

Pay attention to every touchpoint you have: show up on time, send emails and follow-ups when promised, create error-free documents, and generally fulfill your promises. These may seem unrelated, but your audience (perhaps subconsciously) is taking note.

“Dress” the Part

Research suggests that people form an initial opinion of someone in two – ten seconds. Thus, if your goal is to be seen as professional it is critical to “dress” the part. “Dressing” the part extends to body language (open), facial expressions (interested and observant), gestures (open palms), speech (measured), and electronic signatures (accurate and helpful).

Use Credentials powerfully and appropriately

It can be easy to overlook but first and foremost, remember to explicitly use your credentials when the other person doesn’t know you. It is not bragging but orienting to reference degrees, your company, department, and years and type of experience. A subtle way of using credentials is to include them in your signature line and to keep internal and external postings updated.

Leverage Social Proof

Social Proof is where you let people know that others have trusted you and benefited from working with you. It is an innate human quality to want to achieve what others can been able to accomplish. You can actually share this information with examples: “I worked with X on an issue very similar to yours and they found Y incredibly useful.”

Create an Early Win

Early wins accomplish two things. Frist, it creates momentum for the rest of your encounter or engagement. Second, you can invoke the Reciprocal Principle which states that people feel compelled to repay to what someone has given them. So, if you “give” a quick win, your audience is more likely to be amendable to change and other suggestions you make down the road. Early wins can be a variety of things: a positive experience, a compliment, or solving a quick problem.