Back To CourseCommunications 101: Public Speaking
16 chapters | 105 lessons | 12 flashcard sets
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Cat has taught a variety of subjects, including communications, mathematics, and technology. Cat has a master's degree in education and is currently working on her Ph.D.
If you think about it, you are constantly being bombarded by persuasive strategies. Many of these strategies depend on the ethos, or credibility, of certain people to persuade you to buy a product, sign a petition, do business with a certain company, and so on. You'll see companies use credibility in the form of celebrity endorsements, doctors' or dentists' recommendations, or testimony from people that have experienced the benefits of a product or an excellent service. These are just a few examples.
In this lesson, you will learn about credibility, the types of credibility, and strategies for gaining credibility in a speech.
Credibility is the characteristic of being trustworthy. If the audience can't trust you, then they won't believe you. Credibility is often related directly to the audience's perception of the speaker's competence and character.
First, the audience must believe that you are a competent speaker - that you are capable of creating valid arguments and sound reasoning. You can establish credibility with your audience by mentioning your expertise in the particular field in which you are speaking. Credibility can also refer to the reputation of the speaker. If you have a positive reputation, or are an expert in the topic area of your speech, then that can help establish credibility in your speech.
Reputation doesn't just mean you are an expert in the field, however. If the speaker has a poor reputation, or does not appear to be trustworthy, then the audience will be less likely to listen. The character of a speaker is also related to the credibility of the speaker. This means you will have to watch your demeanor towards people before and after you speak. If you are rude to the hostess of the event or act stressed out in front of a classmate, then you will lose credibility with your audience.
Each speaker has different types of credibility. For example, if you go to a technology conference to hear a keynote speaker, you can bet the speaker has some sort of credentials in technology. If you are listening to a classmate give a speech, you may find that you have learned to trust this classmate and value his or her speeches. There are three types of credibility:
Initial credibility is the credibility an individual has before beginning his or her speech; this is mostly based on the reputation and credentials of the speaker, if they are known to the audience. You can remember initial credibility by thinking about the initials in your name. If someone asks you for your initials, they are asking for the first letters in your name, right? Initial credibility is the first credibility a speaker has with an audience. If you are speaking in front of classmates with whom you are unfamiliar, then you probably have very little initial credibility. Your initial credibility will come from how nervous you appear to be, how prepared you are, and even how you are dressed.
Derived credibility is the credibility an individual has developed while delivering a speech; the quality of the speech and the professionalism of the speaker creates this credibility. Think about the word 'derived.' The dictionary definition of this word means 'to take or get something from' or 'to get something from a source.' In this case, your credibility is coming from the speech that you give. For speakers that have no initial credibility, derived credibility can be very important. Not only do you experience the concept of derived credibility in public speaking, but also in the case of job interviews, where your only initial credibility may be your resume or contacts.
Terminal credibility is the credibility an individual has gained or lost after delivering a speech. Think of terminal credibility as more of the lasting impression that an audience has of a speech and a speaker. This is different from derived credibility because terminal credibility lasts long after derived credibility. For example, if there is a speaker that you really like and has high initial credibility, then the speaker gives a poor speech, the derived credibility from the speech may be quite low. This will change your impression of the speaker and may lower the overall credibility that you have of the speaker. However, just because a speaker gave one bad speech, if he or she has high initial credibility, the one bad speech won't completely ruin his or her credibility. This is where terminal credibility comes in - your impression of the speaker may be altered beyond the initial credibility, but not as low as the derived credibility.
Now that you understand the different types of credibility, let's discuss how you can gain credibility during your speech. There are a few ways you can do this:
First, you'll need a credibility position in the introduction of your speech. This should come after your attention-getter. A credibility position is a sentence in your introduction that demonstrates your credentials and knowledge about the topic. Many people might create a sentence like, 'After conducting thorough research on this topic, I'm here to share that information with you today.' You can also demonstrate your connection to the topic, like this: 'After my sister was diagnosed with this illness, I decided to do further research; today I would like to share with you my findings.' Or, 'I have always been fascinated with this area of history. I've researched this topic most of my life and did more for this speech.'
You can also try to establish goodwill with the audience by reassuring the audience that you have their best interest in mind. This is especially important for a persuasive speech. For example, by saying 'I have enjoyed the personal benefits of volunteering, and after doing some research about the happiness and satisfaction that volunteering brings, I think you will find volunteering to be a valuable activity as well.'
Make sure that you use effective and credible supporting materials throughout your speech. If you are citing research that is credible, then your audience will be more likely to believe your reasoning in your speech.
You will also want to avoid using vague and informal language. Instead, use formal language and specific terminology in your speech. Avoid using words like 'stuff' and 'things'; use specific and concrete examples rather than vague and general references. For example, saying 'volunteering will make you happier and will give you other positive stuff, too' is not effective and does not help credibility. Say instead, 'volunteering will make you happier, bring you more satisfaction, and will help you improve and gain new skills.' This is more effective, and even better would be to add supporting materials after this sentence about the types of skills you can gain from volunteering or research that talks about how people who volunteer are happier than when they weren't volunteering.
The way you deliver your speech is also important for credibility. If you do not take on the appropriate tone when delivering serious information, or you have halting sentences with unusual pauses that inhibit the fluency in your speech, having smooth delivery makes you look more polished and prepared, which shows the audience that you think the speech, and the topic, are important enough to be prepared thoroughly.
Credibility is the characteristic of being trustworthy. Remember, if the audience can't trust you, then they won't believe you. It relates directly to the audience's perception of the speaker's competence and character. There are three types of credibility:
Initial credibility is the credibility an individual has before beginning his or her speech; this is mostly based on the reputation and credentials of the speaker, if they are known to the audience. Derived credibility is the credibility an individual has developed while delivering a speech; the quality of the speech and the professionalism of the speaker creates this credibility. Terminal credibility is the credibility an individual has gained or lost after delivering a speech. Think of terminal credibility as more of the lasting impression that an audience has of a speech and a speaker.
A few ways you can gain credibility during your speech are:
Using these tips, you can gain credibility in your speech, which will help the audience become more open to listening to your topic.
After you are finished with this lesson, you should be able to:
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Back To CourseCommunications 101: Public Speaking
16 chapters | 105 lessons | 12 flashcard sets