Audience and Credibility

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What are some ways that you can establish credibility with your audience? Credibility is a measure of how your audience perceives your knowledge, authority and believability on the subject or topic you are presenting. Knowledge is a key factor. You certainly don’t need to be an expert on your topic but you should spend quality time researching and developing deep knowledge on the subject. Providing supportive evidence such as statistics, visuals or personal stories are also helpful to establish credibility. Body language should display confidence, maintaining eye contact with the audience along with standing tall with head held high and good posture help. Gestures should be natural and comfortable. Varying the rate, pitch and volume of our voice is critical. Speaking monotonously makes it impossible for the listener to maintain any real interest in what is being said. Appearance is another important factor. Our style of dress and grooming do make a difference in how audiences respond to presentations. Dressing in a manner consistent with audience expectations and maintaining other norms in appearance can help to build credibility. Naturally, we dress our best for a job interview or an important meeting; the same approach should be taken for delivering a speech.

Why is that important in your speech?
How the audience receives or interprets your message will be largely based on your credibility. Once the speaker has established credibility with his/her audience the audience will be more inclined to believe the speaker and trust what he/she is saying as true. On the other hand, if credibility is not established, the audience would probably dismiss the speaker’s ideas as just opinions resulting in an ineffective speech.

W/C:275
. "Presentation Tips for Public Speaking." A research guide for students. OCLC Online ComputerLibraryCenter, 2008. Web. 8 May 2012. <http://www.aresearchguide.com/3tips.html>.
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