Please Believe Me

communication credibility Jun 24, 2020

I had transferred to a new factory two weeks early when I was asked to stop in to answer questions from the field service reps. One of the reps, Pierre, was really frustrated that a problem he raised several years early had not yet been resolved. I hadn’t dealt with him at my previous location, so we didn’t know each other, and this is the first time I’m hearing about the issue. My response was “This is the first I’ve heard of the issue. Please believe me, I’ll look into and make sure we get it addressed.” He was less than enthusiastic with my response since he’d heard it for years with no results. Now I’m starting to sweat it, I don’t want these reps to be skeptical of our support or not trust us to fix problems. How do I get him to believe that I will address it and that I find the situation unacceptable? As I looked around the room, I realize one rep I had worked with several times was there. I looked at Mike, said “Hi, how are you doing?” and then asked him “Mike, have I resolved the problems you’ve brought to me over the last couple of years?” He confirmed that I had indeed worked with him to get the issues solved. This bought me the time I needed to investigate the issue and get back to Pierre on what we would do to prevent on-going problems.

Credibility means getting someone to trust you and believe what you are saying. There are times when this must happen in the moment. Since credibility is built on trust it can’t really happen in the moment unless the other person is willing to trust you until proven otherwise.

Here are three tips to help you jump start building credibility in the moment:

  1. Be calm and sincere. If you respond in a calm, cool and collected manner people are more willing to believe you are being honest and will listen to you. That’s the first step in building trust and credibility. With Pierre I stayed calm and open to hearing what his concerns were. I expressed sincere concern for his issues. Even when he got angry at hearing the same response, I calmly reminded him I was new to the factory and needed time to investigate. 
  1. Actively listen. Make sure you really listen to what they are asking or looking for from you. It may be hidden behind their words. In the situation above, Pierre was so tired of getting the run around and feeling like he was getting lip service without any intent to fix the issue. Which, sadly, as I found out was the case with my predecessor. I heard his frustration of not getting results and addressed those more than the true cause of his complaint. 
  1. Tap into existing credibility. Use anything in your background that will help show you know what you are doing, if you aren’t arrogant about it. It may be that you have done this work in the past, have a degree that is relevant, or you can provide references of your success. With Pierre, I utilized the fact that I had worked with one of his peers on a similar issue to a positive outcome.

It takes time for people to see that you will do what you say and get the results you promise. However, you can build trust quickly which will help you start to build your credibility. As people learn to trust you, see that you know what you are doing, they will listen to you when you speak up.

 Learn more on how to build your credibility in Be Brilliant & Be Heard, even when you are the only woman in the group a 4-week course designed to help women grow their confidence, build credibility and be heard.


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