How to Gain Credibility by Avoiding These 7 Bad Behaviors

Beware your credibility blind spots. These dangerous behaviors could also be unintentional, however they derail your skilled picture. They’re off-putting to everybody … however you.

The excellent news is that when you uncover your blind spots, you’ll be able to undo them. And in right this moment’s extremely aggressive office, the place even small stuff can make a big distinction, the time to do that is now.


So how are you going to see your individual blind spots? The surest way is to capture yourself on video in a typical business setting. (Smartphones now make this simpler than ever.) And whereas there are quite a few behaviors to search for, seven blind spots are commonest.

1. Utilizing speech fillers

Speech fillers are superfluous sounds or phrases, like “um” and “you understand.” Right now, such fillers are pervasive in our tradition, together with the enterprise world. A wise, younger know-how CEO lately stated to his crew, “So, I really type of passionately consider that now we have a chance to, uh, you understand, type of actually take this platform to a brand new stage. So we simply form of, uh, want to leap in, you understand, with full pressure.” He wished to fireside up his individuals, however his fillers extinguished his ardour.

2. Making extraneous actions

Extraneous actions—reminiscent of jiggling your knee, bobbing your head, or shifting your weight—weaken your private energy. You would possibly say, “I can’t assist myself. I simply can’t be nonetheless.” Reality is, extreme fidgeting is a self-comforting habits. Stillness sends a message that you simply’re calm and assured.

3. Self-commenting

While you really feel self-conscious, it’s straightforward to overreact to your each mistake. When you journey over a phrase, you would possibly apologize (“Sorry!”), make a joke (“No extra espresso for me”), or resort to nonverbal reflexes, like shaking your head or shrugging your shoulders. The issue with this “self-commenting” is your exterior preoccupation along with your inner criticism. Errors occur; merely right them and transfer on.

4. Misplacing upward vocal inflections

You in all probability work with somebody who speaks in “up speak”: utilizing upward inflections that sound like query marks on the finish of sentences. This vocal sample is widespread—and contagious. Be vigilant in not selecting it up.

5. Making your self smaller

When you’re like most individuals, once you really feel intimidated, you make your self smaller to keep away from being a simple goal. You would possibly place your ft nearer collectively, tuck your arms to your sides, dip your chin, or pull again in your quantity. All or any of those behaviors say, “I really feel threatened.”

6. Masking your face and palms

Masking behaviors can creep up once you really feel uneasy or on the spot. This takes many various types, together with crossing your arms, clasping your palms, taking part in along with your garments or jewellery, or having a poker face—chopping off any animation of your face or palms.

7. Dropping eye contact

You don’t see skilled athletes dropping their eyes to the bottom throughout play. In enterprise settings, once you drop eye contact, you drop out of the sport. Hold your eyes on the horizon and provides your listeners the identical respect you anticipate from them—your full consideration. It’s all proper to maneuver your eyes to the aspect momentarily to assemble your ideas. In any other case, in case your mouth is transferring, your eyes ought to be in your listeners.


Cara Hale Alter is president of SpeechSkills, a San Francisco–primarily based communication coaching firm, and writer of The Credibility Code: How to Project Confidence and Competence When It Matters Most (Meritus, 2012). For extra data, go to

Initially Revealed 7/16/2012. Up to date 10/27/2020

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