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Credibility

 

Explanations > Theories > Credibility

Description | So What? | See also | References 

 

Description

A credible source of information makes for quicker and firmer decisions.

A credible person is expert (experienced, qualified, intelligent, skilled) and trustworthy (honest, fair, unselfish, caring). Charisma can increase credibility. Charismatic people, in addition to credible, are extroverted, composed and sociable.

Credibility is context-dependent, and an expert in one situation may be incompetent in another. It is also a cue that is used in selecting the peripheral route to decision-making.

Credibility-enhancing actions include:

  • Highlighting your own experience and qualifications.
  • Showing you care about the other person and have their best interests at heart.
  • Showing you are similar to them by using their language, body language, dress, etc.
  • Being assertive. Quickly and logically refuting counter-arguments.
  • Leveraging the credibility of others, e.g.
    • Highlighting the credibility of your sources of information.
    • Getting introduced by a credible person.

Language that reduces credibility includes:

  • Ums, ers and other, ah, hesitation.
  • Totally and absolutely excessive exaggeration.
  • Kinds of qualifications that sort of lack assertion, I guess.
  • Politeness, sir, that indicates subordination.
  • I know it is silly to say this, but disclaimers do reduce credibility.

So what?

Using it

Build your credibility before persuading. Understand what builds and destroys it. Protect it like a baby, because once lost it can be impossible to recover. Use it to gain commitment without having to argue your case.

Defending

When you are making a big decision, be careful to examine the real credibility of your advisors, including what they stand to gain from your decision.

See also

Consistency Theory, Elaboration Likelihood Model, Source Credibility

References

Gass and Seiter (1999)

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