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Part IV: Overcoming Resistance to Persuasion > Overcoming Image Problems

Chapter 20. Overcoming Image Problems

Your credibility—your image as a competent, honest, dynamic communicator who is concerned about the audience’s needs and values as much as his or her own—is your most important asset as a communicator. Look for opportunities to use the following techniques to enhance your credibility:

  • Be prepared to communicate with your audience. Know your purpose, and know your audience. Don’t improvise as you go!

  • Make sure that the audience knows about your credentials, expertise, education, etc., if these are going to influence how they perceive you and your message.

  • Especially if it is an occasion calling for formal speaking or writing, take great care with the appearance of your message. Written messages should be clear, proofread, and neat. Oral presentations should be rehearsed, clear, and (as appropriate) use supplemental audio or visual materials that are appropriate, professional-looking, and understandable.

  • Communicate in a way that is enthusiastic and energetic. In writing, use language that is active and forceful. In speaking, be aware that not just your words, but your voice and actions contribute to your credibility. Make sure that your presentation—written or oral—is smooth, polished, and confident.

  • Don’t assume that your audience knows that you understand and respect their point of view—show them! Work with what’s familiar to them when you refer to examples, mention names, use technical terms, or explain reasons.

  • Use the endorsement or support of persons your audience perceives to have high credibility to enhance your own image. If you’re not perceived as an expert yourself, show that you have studied the experts. If you’re not well-known to the audience, show that you represent persons who are well-known to them.



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