How to Increase Your Credibility

By: George Verdolaga Building Relationships, Building Your Brand, Career & Business, Connecting 2 Comments May 17, 2013

Romantic Couple at Gatwick AirportOnce upon a time, people would say “You must come to dinner” just to be polite or “that’s very interesting” when they really mean the opposite (read “What British People Say. What They Really Mean. What Other People Understand.” for a comprehensive list of archaic “polite society” comments). And incredibly, people still bandy about these hollow invitations or insincere comments just to fill up that empty space between them and other people.

Want to make people trust you completely? Then follow-through on those little promises that you make. You’ll be less believable by saying things you don’t mean “just to be polite”. In fact, it will even make people take you less seriously than you deserve to be taken. These days it’s about setting up people’s expectations properly and establishing a reputation for being: (1) the type of person who will deliver and goes the extra mile, even or (2) the type of person that’s simply full of s**t.

Here are some suggestions:

1. Saying “I’ll call you” at the end of a date – Simply say “That was fun. Thank you for a nice evening.” And then just leave it at that. Isn’t that much better than leaving a person hanging with an expectation of a phone call that’s never going to be made? It makes you seem like a jerk for not following through and makes it hard for people to trust not only you but other people of your gender.

2. Saying “We should get together sometime” – Again, don’t say this to people you’ve just run into to make them believe that you really want to see them again, especially if you have no such intention. Just say “take care” or “it was nice to see you”. Under-promise, over-deliver. And then surprise them with a follow up call a day or two later with a real invitation to coffee or lunch (you don’t have to pay – it can be dutch-treat), even though you made no such promise in the first place. It separates you from everyone else who makes the same empty promise because you pro-actively took the step of making the first move and taking things a step further.

3. Saying “yes” to an invitation to a party or event and then making an excuse at the last minute so that you can bail out – This can actually damage your credibility. There’s only 3 things you can do with an invitation: (1) Say “yes” if you’re free. After all you never know how your life might change if you do. Be like Marc in Danny Wallace’s “Yes Man” book on which the movie is based, who says “si a todo (yes to everything)” – within legal and moral limits of course. (2) Say “I’ve already got plans” if you’ve got some already made as it’s a good policy never to stack too many events in one night or (3) Say “I’m feeling unwell” if that’ really the case, or “I’m really tied up this week, perhaps next week?” if you’re caught up with a project that you need to finish. Again, no need to overcommit. And the “I’ll see” remark? Want to know something interesting? Winners in life tend to be really decisive and don’t sit on the fence a lot, especially on really small matters like these so you may want to take their cue and drop “I’ll see” from your repertoire of responses.

4. Saying “it’s nice” when someone asks you an opinion on their outfit – It’s OK to man up and be honest. You’re allowed to say “I’m not a big fan” or “I’m not sure I like it” if you’re not 100% sold on what the person is wearing. You can also say “it’s not your style” if you really think the person chose a piece of clothing that’s not doing them justice rather than saying outright “I think it’s ugly” (it’s good to be honest, but not smart to be cruelly blunt). On the other hand, if you think it’s their choice is a winner then you can set yourself apart by saying “I really like it” or “it looks really good on you”. Giving praise is becoming an increasingly lost art form as well (more on this in my next blog post) that you may want to practice more.

5. Saying you’ll arrive at a certain time or meet a deadline at a certain date and then be late – Lateness is never sexy (some men/women – and nearly all potential employers – will actually write you off completely if you’re late on a first date or meeting, concluding that if they can’t rely on you on the little things, then they can’t rely on you on the big stuff, which makes total sense if you ask me) and is always unprofessional. You can live in a country or city where most people arrive or deliver things late, but you can certainly choose to be different and be the ONLY PERSON who shows up (or delivers) on time and lives to a much higher standard than the norm. Be that person.

BUILDING TRUST

In today’s increasingly homogenous and interconnected society, you can stand head and shoulders above everybody else by saying what’s exactly on your mind and refraining from making offers that you have absolutely no plans to follow through simply because you’re trying to be “nice” or “polite”. Some people have a term for this that I find pretty accurate – it’s called lying. And it’s never OK to lie, even if your intention is to not hurt somebody’s feelings. You can always diplomatically tell the truth (another art form that is learned over time). And you probably don’t want to be one of those liars since no one will ever trust you completely. And what’s the use in only being half-trusted, anyway?

By saying what you mean and doing what you say, you’ll develop a reputation as a straight-shooter and someone who delivers results (rather than just hot air). For more on this topic read Stephen M.R. Covey’s book “The Speed of Trust”.

Photo courtesy of Holidayextras


2 Responses to “How to Increase Your Credibility”

  1. Ray Babst says:

    In todays cut throat business environment with razor thin margins, the customer has so much buying power assisted by the “all mighty power” of the smart phone and other smart gadgets in the market. I agree with what George says about “saying what you mean”…an updated version of the “KISS” rule…..and ultimately “meaning what you say”. People are very critical on delivering on what you promise so execution is always the final measure that people will judge you on. Whether it be a simple agreement on the time of a lunch meeting or closing a million dollar deal, the same rule applies for me.

    Another rule I practice daily that my grandfather taught me is “Never lie to someone you trust and don’t trust someone that lies to you”….

    Just my two cents worth….

    Ray Babst

  2. George Verdolaga says:

    You couldn’t have said it better, Ray. Your grandfather taught you well apparently.

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