In 2017 words such as fake news, alternative facts, hyperbole, embellishment, exaggeration, aggrandisement and lies were heard often and almost have become the new norm. This was especially true in political life on both sides of the Atlantic and in some countries more than others.
As a presenter myself, and presentation designer for many senior executives what can we do to ensure that when we are presenting a message, our audience automatically and subconsciously don’t doubt what we are saying.
What can we do to ensure that those people receiving our message trust us to be factually accurate and truthful?
I see two things you need to do, with the first and foremost being: be a trustworthy person.
Then second: do everything you can to earn the trust of all the people around you and with whom you communicate.
When you present, of course, how you look is important however the actual words you use and how you say them can make all the difference. Here is a selection of phrases, that if used at the right time in the right way can help build that all important trust.
Using simple words that show you value the person generate positive emotions and set the stage for trust. Take the time to sincerely say to the audience, “Thank you for attending today’s presentation. I appreciate your time and look forward to your comments.”
“Allow me to introduce myself to you. By way of background…”
Establishing credibility from the start is a key to earning trust with an audience.
If you’re addressing a group of people, and they do not personally know you, be sure to introduce yourself and briefly mention your credentials, or better have another person properly introduce you.
Audience members — especially sceptical ones — need to hear why you’re an authority on your topic including your name and title, relevant training or certifications, years of experience, and any articles you might have published.
“What this means to you is…” or, “The advantages to you are…”
To earn trust in the hearts of others, they need to know you have their best interests in mind. From selling a solution or requesting funding to leading a project or giving a status update, be sure to communicate to listeners how they benefit from your actions.
Does your message save them time, reduce costs, improve productivity, boost profits, increase market share, or save lives? Be sure to tell them why they should care and how they will benefit.
“Like you, I care about this topic because…”
Transparency and camaraderie build trust.
Make sure your listeners know you, too, are invested in the topic and have a personal connection to it. You’re not just ‘doing your job’ or serving as a ‘mouthpiece’ for the message, you really care.
“Scientific research indicates…” or, “The data shows…”
When possible, be sure to include concrete, quantitative studies, surveys, or data to support your message. When your own opinion or experience are not enough to instil confidence and trust in your listeners, be sure to present facts, figures, and numbers to build your case.
“The results speak for themselves,” or, “The track record shows…”
Don’t expect your audience to always take your word for it. Give them proof. Show them how, where, and for whom your proposal or recommendation has worked in the past.
This could be a customer testimonial, your sales performance from last year, or a letter of recommendation.
Especially when you’re speaking to critically minded decision makers, be sure to prove you’ve already achieved measurable outcomes for others, which instils confidence in your abilities quicker than anything.
“What do you think?” or, “Great idea — let’s do it.”
When you show someone you trust them, they’re more likely to trust you.
Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. It conveys a sense of acceptance, compassion, and care. Most psychologists would say that a human being’s deepest emotional need is to be heard and understood. If that’s true, perhaps active listening and genuine empathy — above all — are the keys to establishing trust in a relationship.
What else do you think can be done (I am sure/know there are many other things) to ensure that your audience trust you and believe your message in today’s ‘fake news’ and alternative facts’ world!