Credibility refers to being trustworthy and believable. You can enhance credibility through strategies such as reputation management, institutional recognition, and excellent communication skills.
We can assess the credibility of a range of things, from an individual, an institution, or an information source.
It can take a long time to establish credibility because it’s often gained through consistent reliability. However, one small action can erode your credibility, and once lost, it can be challenging to regain.
1. Recognition as an Expert
Being recognized as an expert means that others within your field or industry acknowledge your high level of knowledge and skills. In essence, it’s an affirmation of your credibility from your professional peers. This recognition not only boosts your credibility but can increase your influence, with others more likely to trust your opinions, decisions, and solutions.
Integrity refers to the consistency of your actions, values, methods, measures, principles, and outcomes. When you display integrity, you adhere to moral and ethical principles at all times, regardless of the circumstances or consequences. Consequently, integrity can significantly enhance your credibility as it promotes trust and confidence in your character.
See Also: Integrity Examples
3. Reputation Management
Reputation management involves cultivating and maintaining the public perception or image of an individual, group, or organization. It requires being proactive in presenting yourself or your organization in the best light while swiftly addressing any negative issues that could tarnish your image. In this way, reputation management contributes to credibility by showing that you take your reputation seriously and are willing to strive for excellence in all aspects of your work and interactions.
4. Consistency in Actions
Consistency in actions involves the reliable repetition of behavior over time. When you consistently act in an expected way, people can predict your behavior and better trust your responses. Hence, consistency builds credibility by establishing a track record of reliability.
See Also: Consistency Examples
5. Honesty in Communication
Honesty in communication is the practice of communicating truthfully, without misleading or withholding crucial information. When you communicate honestly, you increase trust, encouraging others to believe in your words and actions. Consequently, honesty in communication bolsters credibility by demonstrating your commitment to truth and transparency.
See Also: Honesty Examples
Transparency refers to the openness, communication, and accountability visible in your actions. When you are transparent, you allow visibility into your processes, decisions, and actions, reducing doubt or suspicion. Therefore, transparency enhances credibility by cultivating trust in your actions and motives.
See Also: Transparency Examples
Trustworthiness is the ability to be relied upon based on your honesty, integrity, and character. When you prove yourself trustworthy, others feel comfortable depending on you and trusting what you say. Thus, trustworthiness is key to establishing credibility, as it gives others solid reasons to rely on you.
See Also: Trustworthiness Examples
Professionalism reflects how you conduct yourself in your profession, including your attitude, behavior, and appearance. When people see you behaving professionally, handling responsibilities and situations effectively, they consider you more credible. Hence, professionalism boosts credibility by showing your commitment to maintaining high working standards.
See Also: Professionalism Examples
9. Ethical Behavior
Ethical behavior refers to doing what’s ‘right’ as defined by society’s moral standards. When you behave ethically, others see you as principled, reinforcing their belief in your character. Therefore, ethical behavior cements credibility by demonstrating a commitment to moral principles.
See Also: Ethical Behavior Examples
Reliability is your ability to be trusted to carry out tasks or commitments without fail. By demonstrating reliability, you show others that they can depend on you, which enhances your credibility. In essence, reliability builds credibility by showing your dependable nature.
Authenticity refers to being genuine or ‘real’ in your interactions and presentations. When you’re authentic, others feel that they see the ‘true you’, enhancing their trust in you. Hence, authenticity contributes to credibility by allowing others to trust what they see and hear from you.
See Also: Authenticity Examples
Accountability is taking ownership of your actions and decisions. When you demonstrate accountability, others see that you stand by your actions and decisions, enhancing your credibility. So, accountability builds credibility by demonstrating your willingness to take responsibility.
See Also: Accountability Examples
13. Demonstrated Competence
Demonstrated competence is showing your knowledge or skill in a particular field or task. When you display competence, others trust your abilities and judgments, enhancing your credibility. Hence, demonstrating competence contributes to credibility by showing your capability and expertise.
See Also: Competence Examples
14. Peer Endorsements
Peer endorsements involve validation from colleagues or counterparts recognizing your abilities and achievements. These endorsements increase belief in your competence and reputation. Consequently, peer endorsements enhance your credibility by leveraging the on-record approval of individuals considered equals in your field.
15. Credible Affiliations
Credible affiliations refer to your association with respected groups, institutions, or individuals. When you’re associated with reputable entities, others automatically extend their trust and believe in your claims and abilities. Hence, having credible affiliations increases your credibility by attaching your name with well-regarded entities.
16. Longevity in a Profession
Longevity in a profession references the length of time you’ve spent within a specific field or industry. Lengthy tenure often implies a deep understanding and honed skills. Therefore, longevity in a profession amplifies your credibility by demonstrating your enduring commitment and proven expertise in a given area.
17. Positive Testimonials
Positive testimonials are endorsements given by others based on their experiences dealing with you. When people read or hear positive testimonials about you, they are more inclined to trust your abilities or offerings. Thus, positive testimonials enhance your credibility by using others’ positive experiences as a form of recommendation.
18. Admitting Mistakes
Admitting mistakes means acknowledging your errors or misjudgments. By admitting mistakes, you show others your integrity and willingness to correct course, which builds trust and respect. Consequently, admitting mistakes enhances your credibility by illustrating your commitment to truth and learning.
A Full List of Ways to Build Credibility
- Recognition as an Expert
- Reputation Management
- Consistency in Actions
- Honesty in Communication
- Ethical Behavior
- Demonstrated Competence
- Peer Endorsements
- Credible Affiliations
- Longevity in a Profession
- Positive Testimonials
- Admitting Mistakes
- Providing References
- Academic Journals
- Triangulation of Sources
- Peer Recognition
- Relevant Experience
- Fact-based Arguments
- Positive Media Coverage
- Avoidance of Conflicts of Interest
- Personal Testimonies
- Demonstrated Commitment
- Respected Mentorship
- Sound Reasoning
- Unbiased Reporting
- Adherence to Standards
- Citing Reliable Sources
- Demonstrated Knowledge
- Validated Research
- Clear and Direct Communication
- Demonstrated Leadership
- Proven Track Record
- Commitment to Excellence
- Ethical Decision Making
- Eyewitness Testimony
- Primary Sources
Maia Bairrada, C., Fontes da Costa, J., Santos, R. M., & Coelho, A. (2021). Determinants and consequences of brand credibility: a case study in the pharmaceutical industry. International Journal of Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Marketing, 15(2), 282-297.
De Vries, A., Erasmus, P. D., & Gerber, C. (2017). The familiar versus the unfamiliar: Familiarity bias amongst individual investors. Acta Commercii, 17(1), 1-10.
Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]