Imagine for a moment that your worst speaker’s nightmare came true. Imagine that you took the stage to give a riveting speech… but forgot to put on pants that morning.
After the audience stopped laughing long enough to realize that you’re determined to deliver your speech, there would be a dramatic shift in the atmosphere of the room.
First, aversion would run rampant. The audience would probably not like you very much. Some might even get up and leave because you obviously can’t be taken seriously and are not worth their time.
Your audience will not trust you, because you clearly can’t even dress yourself in the morning… so what makes you such an expert?
Worst of all, they will be very distracted. Your message will be completely lost in lieu of the fact that you have no pants. You will be forever known as the Pantsless Speaker, not as the forerunner of your platform topic… which no one can seem to remember anyway, because you are the Pantsless Speaker.
Credibility is absolutely irreplaceable for the professional speaker. Without it, you may as well speak nekkid.
What is this credibility…
Being credible is simply defined as being believable. Most folks aren’t going to take a speaker without pants on very seriously, or believe much of what he has to say… just like they won’t take you seriously if you are unbelievable.
Less simply, credibility can be defined as the instinctual sense that an audience gets when they feel from the pit of their stomach that you are trustworthy. They are moved to listen to you because of your experience, your expertise, and the people who have validated your name.
Credibility also determines the size and dedication of your audience. As we just found out from your nightmare, people will simply not listen to someone they do not trust, cannot be trusted, or has done something fishy in the past.
In short, your credibility determines whether or not people will listen to you.
And if you plan on making a name for yourself in professional speaking, you’d better have people listening to you. So it follows that you absolutely, positively, 100% must be a credible speaker.
…and where can I get it?
Though modern politics may speak otherwise, true credibility cannot be bought and sold. It must be built. It must be worked for. Subsequently, it also must be maintained and cared for. It must have its wrinkles ironed out, be pressed, and perfectly kept. Like pants.
Take a lesson from Don Imus to see just how easy it is to lose your success just by losing your credibility.
Before Don Imus not-so-affectionately called the women’s basketball team at Rutger’s University “nappy-headed [gardening tools],” he had a nationally-syndicated morning radio show on MSNBC.
He lost all of his success in the moments it took to speak that sentence. He offended many, many people, even (then presidential candidate) Barack Obama, who said, “With a public platform comes a trust. As far as I’m concerned, he violated that trust.”
Straight from the president’s mouth. With public platform comes trust. If you’re going to be up on that stage, telling people what’s what about your topic, you’d better be believable, consistently and without fault.
Thankfully, it’s not difficult to start building, but there isn’t enough room to tell you the exact steps you can take to build your rock-solid credibility. Download your free interview with the former president of the National Speakers Association, a world renowned best-selling author who happens to be an amazing speaker… Mark Sanborn.
Brian Schwartz is the founder of 50 Interviews, the main source of high-quality publishing for speakers and entrepreneurs alike.