“Credibility is a leader’s currency. With it, he or she is solvent; without it, he or she is bankrupt.” — John C. Maxwell
There’s nothing more personally valuable than your credibility, because if you have it then people trust you. If you do not have it and people feel they cannot trust you, you will struggle to succeed in almost every area of your life. Below are my tips to help you establish and maintain your credibility. Guard your credibility as you would guard anything of great value: protect it, cultivate it and cherish it.
Tips To Establish & Grow Your Credibility
1. Be Accurate. This is critical in your daily communications and interactions with people in all areas of your life, personal and professional. To the best of your ability, ensure what you are saying is accurate. Check your facts. If you’re not sure, then caveat your statements with something like this: “I’ve been unable to confirm this information, but it’s the best information I have right now.”
2. Quickly Correct Errors. When you learn that something you truly believed was correct is not, quickly tell everyone. Apologize. Retract your statement. People do not expect perfection, but they treasure honesty and intent. If they know you were giving them what you believed to be true, they will forgive the occasional error. It also increases your credibility when you are quick to correct the error. Remember, errors in information are not like fine wine — they do not get better with age. Quickly correct known errors.
3. Reference Your Information. Tell everyone where you found it, or who said it, or what you directly observed. No one expects you to know it all. Knowing where the information came from puts a qualitative value on it, and people like that.
4. Say, “I Don’t Know.” This is a legitimate answer to any question. Often we feel compelled or tempted to want to give an answer to a client or friend’s question so much that we “make up” the information so as to be seen as an expert, or knowledgeable. Big mistake. This will come back to haunt you and destroy your credibility. If you don’t know the answer, say that clearly. You can then offer your opinion, or even speculate, but tell them that’s exactly what you’re doing. Don’t appear to be stating facts when you don’t know the facts.
5. Don’t Embellish. It’s also tempting when you know a few facts to “add your own” facts. This again stems from wanting to appear to be an expert. It’s ok to say, “here’s what I know” and tell them. Then you can go on to offer your opinion or speculate, but tell them when you’re giving your opinion or speculating.
A Good Name
Your credibility is about your reputation — your good name — and as King Solomon the wise once said, “A good name is rather to be had than great riches.”
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