How to Establish Credibility in Your Speech: 6 Proven Methods

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As a speaker, your goal is to provide a message that resonates with your audience. Establishing credibility is a crucial aspect of this, as it builds trust and helps you connect with your listeners on a deeper level. When you establish credibility in your speech, you make your audience more receptive to your ideas and more likely to remember your message long after your presentation is over.

There are several ways to establish speaker credibility, including using marketing assets to establish expertise, sharing personal stories, citing reliable sources, being confident and authentic in your delivery, and growing your media footprint. By implementing these strategies, you can captivate your audience and leave a lasting impression. Let’s explore these methods on how to establish credibility in a speech in detail.

Ethos — An Important Part of Building Trust

Before we get into the methods, let’s quickly talk about ‘ethos.’ ‘Ethos’ is one of three pillars of Rhetoric introduced by Aristotle and comes from the Greek word for ‘character.’ Appealing to ethos is about establishing your credibility and authority as a speaker. It involves showcasing your knowledge, experience, and trustworthiness to create a strong connection with your audience.

By demonstrating your expertise and sharing relatable personal stories, you build your audience’s trust and confidence in your message. Using reliable sources and data to support your arguments can further strengthen your position. Overall, appealing to ethos allows you to present yourself as a credible, trustworthy speaker who your audience can rely on for accurate and valuable information. This trust can enhance your ability to persuade and engage your audience effectively.

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6 Methods to Establish Credibility As A Speaker

1. Establishing Credibility Through Expertise

The Speaker Lab’s S.P.E.A.K. framework provides a comprehensive approach to structuring your speech and advancing your career as a speaker. This includes the very important point of establishing your credibility. The S.P.E.A.K. framework is as follows:

Select a Problem to Solve

Prepare Your Talk

Establish Yourself as an Expert

Acquire Paid Speaking Gigs

Know When to Scale

Today, we’re obviously going to hone in on that third part of the framework – Establish Yourself as an Expert. Expertise and credibility are not necessarily the same thing, but they certainly go hand-in-hand. So how does establishing expertise help you establish credibility? And how do you even show that you’re an expert in the first place?

How to Establish Yourself as an Expert

A critical step in becoming an effective speaker is establishing yourself as an expert in your field. This involves becoming the go-to authority that event planners seek out to address a specific problem or need their audience may have. To get paid speaking gigs and build credibility, you must clearly define who you are, what you offer, and who your ideal audience is. Here are some ways to do that.

Creating a Strong Brand and Effective Marketing

To be viewed as an expert, you need to cultivate a personal brand and prioritize marketing yourself effectively. Knowing how to solve problems isn’t sufficient; you need to convey your expertise and capability to others. Your brand is how others perceive and talk about you, while marketing is the effort you put into sharing your story and reaching your target audience.

Showcasing Your Credentials

In your speech, share your credentials, experience, and achievements with your audience to demonstrate your authority on the subject. This could be academic degrees, professional certifications, or specialized training in your area of expertise that say, “I know what I’m talking about. I’ve walked the walk.” By showcasing your qualifications, you gain trust and credibility, reassuring your audience that you have the knowledge and skills to deliver valuable insights that are in their best interests.

Highlighting Relevant Experience

Draw on your past experiences in the industry to strengthen your authority and credibility. For example, if you’ve consulted for top companies on leadership development, mentioning this experience in your talk can showcase your mastery of the subject. Relating personal anecdotes or case studies from your professional journey can make your presentations more engaging and relatable, further establishing your credibility with your audiences.

Citing Awards, Publications, and Accomplishments

Citing any awards, published works, or accomplishments relevant to your topic can solidify your position as a qualified expert and reassure your audiences that they are in capable hands. These achievements demonstrate your dedication to your craft and provide tangible evidence of your proficiency, competence, and influence.

Building Relationships with Influencers

Establishing connections with key influencers (no, we don’t mean Kardashian-type influencers) and decision-makers in your industry can also elevate your status as an expert speaker. By networking with respected figures and friends and engaging with them on social media or at events, asking for tips and sharing your knowledge, you can expand your reach and credibility.

Continuously Building Your Reputation

Keep your reputation strong by continuously delivering high-quality content and talks that address your audience’s needs. Gathering and showcasing positive feedback, testimonials, and references from past clients can further solidify your status as an expert and attract more speaking opportunities.

Establishing yourself as an expert speaker requires effort and persistence, but by focusing on branding, marketing, and showcasing your credentials and achievements, you can build trust and credibility with your audience and event planners. This, in turn, will help you secure more speaking engagements and grow your career as a successful speaker.

2. Establish Credibility Through Personal Experience

We hit on this point a little bit in the previous section on establishing expertise, but it’s important enough that it deserves some extra attention. Incorporating personal stories and real-life examples while on stage is a powerful way to boost your credibility in a speech. When you share anecdotes from your own experiences, you become relatable to your audience and establish a connection with them.

For instance, a speaker discussing the importance of resilience might share a personal story about overcoming a significant challenge in their own life. This not only makes the speaker’s message more authentic and may establish common ground with your audience but also serves as an inspiring example for audience members.

Using relevant stories from your professional or personal journey humanizes you and allows your audience to see you as a credible and relatable individual. Sharing moments of triumph or lessons learned from challenges can offer your audience valuable insights.

When sharing personal stories, make sure they are relevant to your speech’s main topic and support the key points you want to convey. By tying your personal experiences back to your message, you create a stronger impact and enhance your credibility.

3. Be Confident and Authentic

Your delivery style plays a significant role in establishing credibility as a speaker. Speak with confidence and authenticity to convey your message effectively. Avoid sounding rehearsed or robotic—your audience wants to hear your genuine voice. They are there to experience your unique perspective and insight.

To project confidence, focus on maintaining good posture, standing tall, making eye contact with your audience, and using appropriate gestures to emphasize key points. Vary your tone and pace to keep your audience engaged and attentive, and adjust your energy to match the room’s atmosphere. Confident body language can make a real difference in increasing engagement among audience members and making them feel confident in your words and knowledge – just another way to build credibility.

Authenticity is equally important for establishing trust. Being genuine and honest in your delivery as a public speaker helps you connect with your audience on a deeper level, making them more receptive to your message. Share your passion for the topic, allowing your enthusiasm to resonate with your audience. Invite them to participate by asking rhetorical questions or encouraging them to share their own experiences. This creates a sense of dialogue and interaction, enhancing your credibility and leaving a lasting impact.

4. Cite Reliable (and Credible) Sources

Backing up your claims with reliable sources such as research studies, statistics, or expert opinions can enhance your credibility in a speech. Providing proof from reputable sources boosts your authority and instills trust in your audience.

When citing sources, be sure to properly attribute quotes, data, or ideas from others. Proper attribution not only avoids plagiarism but also demonstrates respect for the work of others and showcases your thorough research. For instance, if you are discussing the benefits of mindfulness, you could reference recent studies that show its positive impact on productivity.

“But how do I know whether a source is ‘reliable’ or not?” Remember that word, ‘ethos,’ we talked about? As a speaker, it’s essential to harness ethos in your speeches, but equally important is recognizing the integrity of other speakers and sources.

Not all sources are equally reliable, so determining trustworthy content involves several key factors: First, consider whether the person or organization has firsthand experience and has proven themselves in the field. Assess their reputation for integrity and their relevant experience.

Be mindful of the rise of misinformation, especially on social media platforms. It’s crucial to cross-check facts and sources’ reputations to verify their credibility. Pay attention to the motives behind the information provided—whether the source is trying to sell something or genuinely inform. If the source has an agenda, it may be better to seek out a different source for more impartial information.

5. Use Visual Aids in Your Speeches

In public speaking, using visual aids such as slides, charts, and videos can enhance your speech and help convey or explain complex information more effectively. Visuals can also provide additional credibility by supporting your points with clear evidence. When incorporating visual aids, keep them simple and focused on your main message. Use them to emphasize key points and provide clarity. Overloading your presentation with visuals can distract your audience, so be selective and purposeful in their use.

For example, if you are discussing data trends in your industry, include charts or graphs that clearly illustrate your points. Visual aids should complement your speech, not overshadow it. Practice using your visual aids during rehearsals to ensure a seamless and impactful presentation.

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6. Grow Your Media Footprint

Organizations and groups often seek speakers who are recognized as experts in a specific topic rather than just anyone who can deliver a talk. It’s essential to identify the websites, blogs, and publications that your decision-makers regularly read and target those spaces to establish yourself as an authoritative figure. By understanding where your audience goes for information, you can position yourself as a knowledgeable and trustworthy source.

One valuable resource for expanding visibility in public speaking is HARO (Help a Reporter Out), a free service that connects journalists with experts on various topics. Through HARO, you gain access to numerous opportunities to share your insights and research with reporters seeking credible sources. This exposure can help you gain recognition in the media and increase your reach within your target audience.

Being featured in reputable publications or media outlets boosts your profile and enhances your credibility as an expert in your field. It demonstrates to potential clients and decision-makers that you are a trusted person who can provide valuable insights and solutions. This heightened visibility can lead to more speaking opportunities and increase your bookings as you become a go-to speaker for the topics you specialize in.


Building credibility in a speech is essential for connecting with your audience and delivering a successful presentation. By implementing the S.P.E.A.K. framework, sharing personal stories and examples, citing reliable sources, being confident and authentic, and leveraging visual aids, you can establish yourself as a credible speaker who captivates your audience and leaves a lasting impact.

Remember that establishing credibility is an ongoing process. Continuously refine your approach and strive to connect with your audience in meaningful ways. With practice and persistence, you can master the art of establishing credibility in your speeches. Let these strategies guide you as you prepare and deliver your next talk.


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