When you take the stage, your audience is likely wondering, Who is this guy or gal? They want to know if you have the potential to make a difference in their lives or businesses.
With Step 4, you’re anticipating those questions, telling them why they should listen to you.
In some environments, the simple fact that you’re onstage conveys credibility to you as an expert, but that’s not always the case.
You may be presenting at a multi-speaker event with more established people in your field. Or you could have a lot of seasoned (or jaded) industry veterans in the audience. Or maybe you’re in an industry, such as real estate or insurance, where people listen to a lot of speakers.
In those situations, especially, you need to provide proof that you are worth their time, attention and investment.
How to Establish Your Credibility
You can establish your credibility in two main ways:
1. Present Your Qualifications
Presenting your qualifications is usually done before you take the stage. First, you want to make sure that they’re listed in the speaker’s agenda, so the audience has access to them ahead of time. Then you want to give to the person who’s introducing you a paragraph to read that includes your qualifications.
The paragraph should lead with a powerful statement, like in the example below, and then include your relevant accomplishments, experience, education, awards, certification and training ~ whatever will make you look like an expert.
Your introduction should be typed in large print and written like a script, so the person can read it word-for-word. For instance, “I’m so pleased to welcome to the stage the person who showed us the goldmine in social media.”
Ideally, you want the person introducing you to be the promoter. He or she knows you best, and would be happy to do it, since anything that makes you look better can boost his or her bottom line. (Typically, the promoter gets 50% of your sales.)
Before you hand over your introduction, be sure to read it first out loud. Many introductions are flubbed because they look okay on the page, but don’t translate well when heard.
2. The Testimonial
In your presentation, after you’ve delivered your grabber, told the audience what you’re going to do and laid down the ground rules (Steps 1-3), you want to begin to deliver case studies or testimonials of people who attest to the power of your work.
In fact, on an ongoing basis, you should be building an arsenal of positive comments from newspaper and magazine articles, television and radio interviews, awards, emails from clients and customers, even posts to your Facebook page. Any time someone says something complimentary about you, your company, product or program, keep a copy of it for possible use as a testimonial.
Before you actually use the private posts and emails, you need to ask permission (and make sure they’re FTC compliant*), but once you have permission, you can include them along with your other testimonials in your PowerPoint or overhead slides.
Live testimonials are also very powerful. These are clients or customers in your audience who have agreed ahead of time to give you an unpaid endorsement.
Whatever their form, you don’t want to dump all of your testimonials into the audience’s lap at once. You can start with a few, include at least one on your order form, and weave the rest of them in seamlessly throughout your talk. Or you can begin with an extended case study.
Whether long or short, you want your testimonials to feel like an organic part of your presentation.
I’ll show you how to accomplish that next time.
*FTC compliance is beyond the scope of these articles, but do check the latest guidelines to be sure you meet the requirements.