The Perception of Credibility: Do You Have It? It Means Everything
Copyright 2003 Kevin Hogan
I want to give you the first 14 questions you must answer about yourself in order to build yourself into a person of influence. Neglecting any of these 14 questions mean you cannot be credible or perceived as credible to your clients, customers or the world.
His Holiness: The Dalai Lama, John Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, Adolph Hitler, Osama bin Laden, Benjamin Franklin…. All masters of persuasion. They differ(ed) very much in their goals, objectives and vision but they were/are all successful at influencing the masses. Why? Credibility. Among those they wanted to influence, they are/were incredibly believable. They knew their business. They knew their outcomes. They were incredibly competent.
Credibility is one of the common denominators of their success at influencing others. Credibility (O’Keefe 1990) are the “judgments made by a perceiver concerning the believability of a communicator.”
In the United States today, you have leaders that vary in their personal influential ability from the highly influential (Colin Powell, Condoleeza Rice, John McCain, Joe Biden) to the under-achieving, less influential (President Bush, V.P. Cheney, Tom Daschle, Ted Kennedy) who should and could be far more persuasive than they are, if they simply incorporated the six elements of credibility into their life and their public persona.
Today it is most interesting to watch the world stage. Consider that Saddam Hussein, a murderer, rapist, and genocidal killer, has subtly and brilliantly been able to build more credibility among world citizens than the leaders of the two most powerful nations (U.S.A., U.K.). How does this happen? How can people possibly believe a man who personally killed his son-in-law (among thousands of others), when contrasted with two men we know mostly benign albeit good things about…whose greatest crimes have been drinking a little too much?
Credibility is the pivot point. Bush has not ever been perceived as competent in the world community. Adding his low credibility as a leader to his perceived arrogance (which is how people view the U.S.A. in much of the world) we have a predictable reaction by the world community. The messages Bush sends are therefore polarizing and people internationally will accept the polar view to what someone like President Bush says, so long as it is perceived as slightly more credible than what he communicates.
Credibility matters. Credibility is the pivot point in influence. Unfortunately it doesn’t initially matter whether you have credibility (or are credible) but whether you are perceived that way.
Credibility is critical to your being recognized as a person of influence. Credibility is an emergence of six component factors of which, in this article, we will discuss the first of the six factors.
What factors make up credibility?
Competence is the first major component in the credibility puzzle. Go back to the list of the names at the top of this article. They are/were all very competent people. Competence is a cornerstone of credibility. (Notice that competence isn’t correlated with having good values, morals or the best interests of others.) You can fake competence for awhile but eventually competence is tested and it makes or breaks you. Competence is expertise. It is your qualification(s).
Golden Key: Building your true competence level and building the perception of your competence are two separate projects.
a) You must be the expert.
b) You must be perceived as the expert.
What specifically do you want to work on? (McCroskey and Young 1981) You want to work on the seven subscales (continuums) of competence with those two goals in mind.
Critical: You want to be competent and you want to be perceived as competent. It does you no good at all to be competent and perceived otherwise.
Are you experienced or inexperienced?
Are you perceived as being experienced or inexperienced?
Are you informed or uninformed?
Are you perceived as being informed or uninformed?
Are you trained or untrained?
Are you perceived as being trained or being untrained?
Are you qualified or unqualified?
Are you perceived as being qualified or unqualified?
Are you skilled or unskilled?
Are you perceived as being skilled or unskilled?
Are you intelligent or unintelligent?
Are you perceived as being intelligent or unintelligent?
Are you an expert or not?
Are you perceived as an expert or not?
After answering all these questions, you must construct a competence-building and perception-of-competence building system.
If you aren’t experienced, you need to become experienced. If you aren’t perceived as experienced you must make clear verbally, in writing, via testimonial or some covert fashion that you are experienced.
If you look in the yellow pages you may come across words and phrases that attempt to establish credibility because this is such a big piece of the influence puzzle.
“27 years of experience”
On television you see Michael Jordan lend his credibility and competence as the world’s greatest athlete to everything from hamburgers to batteries to underwear. This is roughly what a testimonial on the back of a book does for the author. It is called the “halo effect.” You are borrowing someone else’s credibility to build your own. It’s smart to do and something you should pursue as well.
Competence is the cornerstone. Covertly make your client base aware of your competence. (Have awards on the wall of your office. Have testimonials in your portfolio.) Then, make it certain that in all of your interactions with your clients every single one of them knows that your knowledge runs deep and wide. You are the obvious expert in your field. That done, you have the first of the six building blocks of credibility standing tall.
The Science of Influence is the place to begin. What makes the Science of Influence different from every other program about persuasion? This material is fresh, potent, tested, and has nearly all of what you will discover is new! There is no rehash of past salespeople or scholars.
Science of Influence Master's Home Study Course (12 CDs)
with Kevin Hogan, Psy.D.
This program is the culmination of years of selling synthesized with the last five years of academic research into compliance gaining, persuasion and influence. You won't find a program like this, designed for you, anywhere else.