How to Establish Credibility When Giving a Speech

Credibility When Giving SpeechStanding up in front of a group of one’s peers and giving an extended speech is, for some, one of the most intimidating prospects imaginable. From the office conference room to the locker room to the board room, many professional and social situations require the deliverance of a successful, eloquent and rousing speech.

For those who have overcome stage fright and are comfortable with public speaking, the importance of establishing credibility is paramount because a message cannot be effectively received unless it is truly believed.

There are many methods of building your credibility with your audience while giving a speech, and mastering these techniques is a crucial component of delivering a quality address.

First, it is vital to your credibility that you begin a speech by iterating the qualifications and expertise you possess pertaining to the subject at hand.

List your previous experience in dealing with the topic being discussed, making sure to carry yourself with confidence and composure. When the audience senses that your speech is based on competence and comprehension of the issues, they will instinctively pay closer attention and absorb your message more readily.

Take care to avoid sounding pretentious while you recount your familiarity with what you are speaking about. It is important to maintain a level of trust between yourself as the speaker and your listeners, and any suggestion of boasting on your part will weaken this trust. Establish your credibility by succinctly and directly reviewing your skills, knowledge and experience, but quickly direct your speech towards the topic in question to capitalize on the air of capability you have fostered.

Before you say a single word, you can enhance your credibility in the eyes of the audience by attending to your wardrobe.

Sociological research has consistently shown that a well-groomed and professionally dressed speaker is naturally viewed as more believable than a disheveled and unorganized one. While the underlying reality of this prejudice is dubious at best, there is no harm in utilizing your audience’s subconscious predilections to your favor. By wearing a tailored suit, combing your hair neatly and carrying a briefcase, you will immediately suggest to your listeners that you are a figure worth listening to. However, if this is not appropriate for your audience, dress in clothing that is.

During the course of your speech, maintaining a clear voice and sticking to your script is an important aspect of building credibility. When a speaker falters or stumbles over his or her words, the audience becomes distracted and their attention to the message being delivered falters.

By practicing and mastering your speech ahead of time, you can assure that your speech will be flawlessly conveyed. The ability to memorize the specific wording, body language and points of emphasis during a speech is a skill mastered by many politicians and one which serves to make their public addresses so effective. A study of any historical politics directory clearly indicates that successful public speaking is one part talent and two parts preparation. The credibility of your next speech will surely be bolstered by practice time and proper planning.

Picture : Kristofer Björkman

Further reading:
Have to Give a Presentation? Here Are 8 Quick Tips To Go From Zero to Hero