By: Executive Speaking
When you’re with your company or with your same boss for years, you are believable. You have history. You are known.
But how do you be believable when you are new, in a new company, with a new boss—where you are unknown?
How do you become believable?
Of course, you could wait for time to tell—but in today’s super charged environment who has time?
Here are three tips to becoming believable, faster:
Be sure what you say matches what you do. For example, I was sitting around a conference table with a new president. He was expressing how he really cared about people—“Put others first,” he said.
Then someone spilled their coffee all over the table. Everyone reached forward to try to stop the mess except him. He stepped back and checked his suit for splashes. What a contradiction. He was all about himself. He wasn’t believable as a caring leader.
So think about how your actions match your words. If you say you value candor, you can’t cut people off abruptly—especially if you feel attacked. Aligning what you say and what you do is critical to being believable.
You can announce stretch goals, lofty goals, big hairy monster goals, but when you’re an unknown your goals have to be plausible.
So if you say you’re going to go from $100 million to $500 million in revenue in 1 year, is that plausible given the company infrastructure? Now if you said 3 years—maybe. While you know you have the demand, the strategy, and the resources to make this happen in 1 year, you’re taking their belief way outside their comfort zone, so they get defensive, disbelieving. Instead of igniting action, you create a wall of resistance.
So the goal is not to over promise or under promise. The goal to be believable is to be plausible.
How many times have you heard the expression “Put on a happy face?” Sounds like logical advice. When you’re the unknown, why wouldn’t you want to put on a deliberate facial expression? What’s the alternative? Looking serious?
But to be believable you have to get beyond this black/white thinking because either way it’s about wearing a mask. As the unknown, you have to take off your mask and genuinely let yourself engage with what you’re saying. If you’re telling them your strategy, you have to not just say the words—you have to make your ideas come alive. You have to share images. You have to tell your stories. You have to be in action mode not edit mode. You can’t be worrying about what you’re going to say next. You have to be engaged with what you’re saying now. Your personality comes through—you transform from Pinocchio to the real deal.
So as you enter the new, by being consistent, being plausible, and being connected, you have the tips you need to be believable.