I don’t believe you

I don’t believe you!

I have been working with a group of managers just recently and considering how and why we trust others and what we need to do in order to be trustworthy and develop trusting relationships.  Heady stuff!

Of course the issue of whether people believe us and trust what we say is a critical to presentations whether these are short introductions, sales pitches or conferences. Imagine sitting in an audience and hearing the words someone is speaking but not believing that they mean those words. Or doubting the person’s intentions or agenda.  Or maybe what we are questioning is that person’s ability to deliver on their promises and claims… I think this happens more times than we sometimes like to admit.

Presenting yourself publicly to groups is a powerful way to build your profile, extend your influence and build relationships – but only if people believe what you say.

So here are my four tips for building trust in presentations:

Tip#1 – Integrity*

Be honest and congruent within yourself.  What I mean by this is your words, your tone and your body language need to be all in line so that what you present is authentic and believable.  If you say you are excited, then look and sound excited.  If you are experienced then you need to sound confident as you say it and back it up with references or examples of your experience. If you are telling people about a colourful and vibrant product then you need to come across as vibrant and engaging.

Tip#2 – Intention*

Be clear about your intentions and that starts off being clear yourself about what the aim of your presentation is about yourself and then letting the audience know.  If you want to sell, then be honest and shape your presentation around the needs of the audience and how your service or product serves them.  If you want to persuade then get into the heads of your audience and find out about their world so you can show them an alternative perspective which benefits them.

People generally HATE being sold to…but they often like to BUY.  So don’t sell to them.  Share with them what you do and how you do it and how it benefits them in their world. And make it SO compelling so that they want to buy

Tip#3  – Capability*

People need to believe that you have the skills, knowledge or expertise to deliver…so make sure that your presentations either demonstrates that ( i.e. in my case it would be very obvious if I didn’t have the skills speaking to groups!) or use stories , examples to demonstrate your capabilities.  This is more than listing your qualifications of course (apart from sounding deadly dull and being a list, people sit and think ‘so what’?.  So what you aim to show is to show how capable you are indirectly.

Tip’#4 – Results*

Ultimately we can talk the talk well but unless we can show how we walk the walk, then we leave an area of doubt in people’s minds.  Tell people, show them, explain to them the results that you achieve – for them and people like them.  Nothing is as persuasive as a proven track record especially one that resonates with the listener…when people have bought your product, what was their wonderful experience.  When they have used your service, what impact did it have on them, their staff, their customers, themselves… results results results (not yours but theirs!)

Aligning both our integrity, our intentions, our capability and our results build trust with our audiences and increases our trust worthiness…what do you think?  So how will you earn the trust of your next audience?  When did you mistrust a speaker?  What did they do or not do?  How did that affect you as you listened  Take care til next time.

* a great book to read around these ideas of trust alignment is Speed of Trust by S M Covey


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