How to Establish Credibility

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Close-up of two business hands shaking
Close-up of two business hands shaking (Image: anyaberkut/iStock/Getty Images)

Credibility refers to the degree to which someone or something is deemed trustworthy and believable. In the professional world, a person's or company's credibility often determines success or failure. Efforts to build and sustain credibility must be ongoing and resolution must be immediate if that credibility is threatened. Whether you wish to establish your own personal credibility with those you love, are working to build a professional profile that is highly credible, or desire to promote your business ventures, the techniques used to build credibility remain the same.

Develop honest dealings with everyone you come in contact with. Being honest is more than telling the truth. Hidden agendas and withheld information compromise your honesty even if everything you say is true. Presenting the pros and cons of an issue and explaining why you feel as you do shows that you are not trying to avoid the truth, but have justified reasons for your point of view.

Follow through with promises. Whether you are a parent who has promised your child a trip to the zoo or a boss who has promised employees a much-deserved reward, keeping you word is essential. Backing out of promises erodes credibility. If circumstances arise that prohibit you from following through, immediate alternatives must be set in place to adequately address the issue. Canceling plans may be necessary at times, but setting a specific date and time for a zoo visit or for that employee gathering demonstrates your desire to follow through even when circumstances arise that interfere with the original plans.

Stand by your convictions. As a professional or a businessperson, you represent certain ideals and goals. Stick to those even when it's not convenient. Changing your stance when things get tough destroys your credibility in the eyes of those who have trusted your guidance.

Show respect by actively listening to the concerns of others. Let others know that their concerns and needs are important to you or your company. Although you may not be able to meet the needs of everyone, being respectful and really hearing their concerns goes a long way to establishing your credibility.

Back up your words. If you express a belief or concern, make sure you have the facts to back it up. Nothing destroys credibility quicker than making statements that you cannot back up.

Maintain confidentiality. Letting people know that they can talk to you without fear of your disclosing personal or business information to others builds trust. Without trust, your credibility is compromised.

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