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Develop 3 dimensions to improve your credibility

By Linda Segall

Credibility is the key, if you want to engage your listeners during a presentation (and who doesn’t?). The source of credibility is ethos, Geri credibilityEvans, a public relations specialist, told a group at a meeting of the North Florida Public Relations Society of America (NFPRSA).

Source credibility has three dimensions, she explains: safety, qualification, and dynamism. A person who has a high rating three areas has a good chance for successful communication. On the flipside, a person who is perceived as having overall low rating on all three scales is probably an unsuccessful communicator no matter how much expertise he or she has.
Evans explains each dimension:

• Safety. This refers to general personality traits as perceived by listeners. Communicators who have a high safety rating can be characterized as being kind, congenial, friendly, agreeable, ethical, warm, and sincere.

On the other hand, says Evans, those who have low safety ratings are perceived as cruel, unfriendly, disagreeable, unpleasant, harsh, unfair, unethical, glossy, cool, and insincere.

Evans says safety ratings are affected by the congruency of verbal and nonverbal behavior. For example, if a presenter is talking about something sad or catastrophic, he cannot be smiling. A smile would cause listeners to question the presenter’s sincerely and honesty, and thus feel unsafe.

• Qualification. This refers to competency. Communicators having high marks for qualifications are perceived as being skilled, expert, informed, able, intelligent, and competent. However, those with low qualification ratings are seen as being untrained, inexperienced, unqualified, uninformed, inept, and unintelligent.

• Dynamism. Although this dimension is the least stable, says Evans, it is the most easily recognized. A dynamic communicator demonstrates boldness, aggressiveness, candor, activity, energy, and enthusiasm. A person with low dynamism scores is perceived as being meek, hesitant, reserved, timid, passive, tired, slow, and not enthusiastic.

Geri Evans, MA, APR, is president of Evans PR Group in Orlando, Fla. She can be contacted at 407-682-9782 or geveans22@cfl.rr.com. Linda Segall is editor of Advantage.


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