Establish your credibility

April 20, 2021

At Wixted & Company, we talk often about making a 90-second opening statement. Every presentation you have should start with by thanking your audience , building some common ground , and then clearly and concisely explaining that main message you want the audience to remember.

You’ve given the audience a solid foundation, and now it’s time to talk about you. We call this the “Credentials/Qualifications” section.

Presenters tend to fall into two categories – I don’t want to talk about myself and I can’t wait to talk about myself. No matter where you fall on that scale, there’s no doubting that YOU are a key part of the presentation. The audience is sizing you up as a communicator and as a leader from the moment your mic comes on. We recommend reminding the audience every time you speak that you have your finger on the pulse of the issue and you are an expert – this cues them to listen and trust you.

Here are two ways the training team at Wixted & Company recommends to keep your credentials relevant and interesting: 

Cluster your years of experience (“During my 20 years working in finance…”), then spend most of your time sharing a brief example/story about your role in a significant project, an impactful experience you had or a nugget of knowledge that makes you uniquely qualified to speak to this audience.

Establishing your credibility isn’t a “one and done” deal. Even if you know the audience, don’t skip this step. Share a quick anecdote about something you recently learned that relates to the topic. Mention a conference you recently attended, something you read that sheds light on the issue or what you’ve learned by talking with each of them. 

Lastly, remember that this should be brief. It’s easy to burn through half of your 90-Second Opening Statement talking about yourself. Establishing your credibility as a speaker is all about trust. Does the audience trust you to lead them, enlighten and inspire them? Audiences need the answer to those questions every time you speak.

There are two more steps in this process. Next up: how to help the audience follow along as you speak. Until then, let the team at Wixted & Company help you prepare for your next presentation. (It could even be that team meeting you lead every week.) 


By Lauri Freking: 

Lauri combines her wealth of training experience with her television journalism background to provide fresh perspectives and customized training for leaders in energy, agribusiness, manufacturing, health care and retail industries. Lauri spent a dozen years in television news and video production in the public and private sectors as a reporter, videographer, editor and producer. Since 2004, Lauri has prepared clients around the country for national and local media interviews, presentations and crisis communication. Her expertise lies in providing tailored communication coaching that is professional, candid and gets results.