Your Credibility: Stop Fighting For It

Imagine a small media training session featuring top-level executives, possibly scientists or academics. It’s the first mock interviewing round early in the morning. The first executive is up. The camera’s red light comes on. The questions start flying.

The executive is flat. No energy, no passion, no reason to pay attention. The interview ends. I ask him why he was flat.

“Well, I don’t want to come across as too dramatic, or I’m afraid I’ll risk my credibility,” he’ll probably say.

Hundreds of trainees in our media training workshops have told me exactly that – that they don’t want to display a lot of energy during their media interviews because they want to “maintain their credibility.”

They’re focusing on the wrong thing. A “flat” trainee will not be heard, will not inspire confidence, and will not break through the clutter of the 3,000 messages the average American is exposed to each day. And when they say they want to maintain their credibility, they usually mean the credibility of their boring peers, not the general audience.

Here’s a media truth: Just by being on television (or on radio, or in the newspaper), the audience automatically views you with credibility.

You’ll get an automatic additional dose of credibility when the journalist identifies you as an expert and you’re identified on the bottom of the screen.

Now that you’ve automatically been deemed credible, all you have to focus on is clear, passionate communication. Think of the energy you bring to your personal conversations regarding subjects you are passionate about (e.g. a ludicrous company policy, a sports team, your daughter’s straight-A report card). Bring that same level of energy to your media interview – and you’ll be perceived as both credible and effective.