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Credibility is the quality that makes people trust you and believe in you. If yours is strong, you'll be well prepared to persuade others. To enhance your credibility, you'll need to do the following:

Look the Part

The persona that you project speaks volumes about your credibility. Most business people are very open to—and place their trust in—a persona that projects warmth, professionalism, and intelligence. Other image factors that can affect your credibility are your dress and your posture. If your peers prefer formal attire, follow suit. If you want to project a powerful image, adopt a strong posture.

Speak the Part
You may look the part, but if you don't speak the part, you'll lose credibility fast. To enhance the oral aspects of your credibility, you should:

* Know your subject matter—Astute listeners know when someone is using words to cover up shortcomings in knowledge about a certain subject. If you want to increase your credibility, do your research on the subject matter you're supposed to be talking about. Ineptitude is almost as bad as lying.
* Use appropriate language—Use impact words that catch listeners' attention, but take care not to sound snobbish or pompous—or inappropriately casual.
* Control your voice—Do you know anyone whose voice is baby-like or, worse yet, makes her sound dumb? Control your voice by varying the inflection of your tone, using a lower pitch, and using a softer volume. Practice by reading newspaper articles out loud.

Walk the Talk
There is nothing more debilitating to your credibility than to say one thing and to do another. Do as you say and say as you do. Sometimes events may force you to do something other than what you've said. This is unfortunate. One of the best ways to avoid this is by not making any promises. A promise may be held as sacrosanct by many listeners, and breaking it will mean trouble for you.

By improving your credibility, you'll be better able to influence other people because they'll be more inclined to believe you and what you tell them. Even if you have authority, credibility is a powerful asset as you seek to accomplish your goals.

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