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courtesy of Neal Sanche at http://www.flickr.com/photos/thorinside/

courtesy of Neal Sanche at http://www.flickr.com/photos/thorinside/

Your credibility as a speaker is so critical that if you don’t have it — if the audience doesn’t find you credible — you might as well stop speaking.

Credibility, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. For any number of reasons, consciously and unconsciously, people decide whether and how much they trust you. They often make snap judgments based on first impressions, which they then seek to confirm or to revise (mostly to confirm) after further experience.

Your credibility depends on three factors.

  1. Your Personal Credibility
    Are you reliable, honest, sincere? Are you a person of your word? Are you, in a word, trustworthy? (Trustworthiness and likability are not the same thing, but they are often linked in people’s minds. If they don’t like you, they’ll find reasons to distrust you. If they like you, they’ll tend to trust you.)
  2. Your Expertise
    Do you know what you’re talking about? Do you have the requisite experience, knowledge, and insight? Do you present yourself and your ideas credibly?
  3. Your Audience’s Judgment
    Their values, their likes and dislikes, their knowledge and experience, their prejudices are what ultimately determine your credibility to them. What makes you credible to one audience may make you incredible to another.

To establish your credibility when you’re giving a speech…

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Only Connect!

Christopher Witt —  June 25, 2013 — Leave a comment

Only Connect!Only connect! That was the whole of her sermon.
Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted,
And human love will be seen at its height.
Live in fragments no longer.
Only connect…
–E.M. Forster, Howards End

 

A speech is all about making connections.

What you talk about (your topic), how you understand it (your frame), what you say about it (your message), how you say it (your delivery) changes, of course.

There are no end of different things you can speak about.

But whatever you are speaking about, a speech is about making connections.

It’s about connecting…

  • Data and information to form a coherent idea
  • Disparate and mutually contradictory ideas to create a new synthesis
  • The known with the new
  • People’s heads (understanding and imagination), hearts (emotions and values), hands (actions and behavior)
  • Individuals with each other
  • Speaker and audience

Making connections is a way of combatting the twin evils of our time: ignorance (and the prejudice and intolerance that it breeds) and loneliness.

There’s more happening in a speech than you think. So never undervalue what you might accomplish when you speak.

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