Informative Speakers Are Credible
An objective approach also enhances a speaker’s credibility. Audience members have no motivation to listen to a speaker they perceive as lacking authority or credibility—except maybe to mock the speaker. There are at least three ways to boost your credibility as a speaker; by establishing your expertise, helping your audience identify with you, and showing you are telling the truth (see Illustration A). It seems to be common sense that we do not listen to speakers who do not know what they are talking about, who cannot relate to us, or who give the impression of being dishonest. However, in planning informative speeches, we can get so wrapped up in the topic that is easy to forget about the elements of credibility. Just remember that in order to teach, we first have to show that we are worthy of our audience’s attention.