Skillset New Zealand Blog

Ideas to help your team develop personally and professionally.

Okay, so you've collected your facts and prepared PowerPoint slides. You're sure your evidence is overwhelming and you've quoted authorities to support your arguments. You are ready to present your proposal to your community.

What could possibly go wrong?

Let's imagine that your audience doesn't know you. Or, maybe that you do have a relationship with them, but the last time you spoke, it did not go well. You have a credibility problem.

Jay Conger is leading authorty on leadership. Years ago, he reported that the most persuasive senior business leaders he studied established their credibility first.

Conger found that the most persuasive leaders had two kinds of credibility: expertise credibility and relationship credibility.  Facts, figures and quoting experts will give you expertise credibility. Relationship credibility might take more time, but you are not ready to persuade without it.

How do we build relationship credibility?

Try genuine consultation.

Resist the temptation to suggest solutions as you ask questions. Consult them on the problems and opportunities they mention as you ask about their current situation and how they see the future. Probe to discover the size or significance of the problems or opportunities, as they see them.

Next, explore some possible solutions.

Keep an open mind and ask how they feel about a range of possible solutions.

With your team you might say something like, 'I'm looking at various possibilities. One would be to sell the existing cars and lease replacements. Or we could pay the running costs for those who want to use their own cars. Maybe we could have some combination. Any thoughts - suggestions?'

When you present your proposal you could enhance your relationship credibility by recalling what people told you. Emphasise what you have in common: perhaps shared expereinces,shared pride in the team's service or performance last year, or shared worries about the downturn in the market.

Consultation won't work?

Maybe you've already decided or your chief executive has given you the decision and it's your job to make things happen. 

You can still consult to enhance your relationship credibility. Ask about how you might implement the decision - perhaps the timing, who should be involved, or which steps to take first.



About Ralph Brown

ralph brown blog3

Ralph is our founder. He has a background in psychology, television journalism and business.

Ralph's passions are positive psychology and writing. He leads workshops on both and speaks to conferences on the psychology of thriving at work.

In 2011  Professional Speakers Australia awarded him its top speaking accreditation, the CSP.

He has written six books, six e-books and more than a hundred articles on psychology and writing. International research journals have published his articles reviewing the research on resilience.

Ralph lives in rural Canterbury. He is a JP and marriage celebrant and enjoys travelling to French-speaking countries.

Interested in training in business writing?

A business writing workshop will give your team far more than just plain English. They’ll be achieving more clarity in less time. Through their emails and letters, they’ll be building cooperative relationships with their colleagues, customers and community.

Learn more

Interested in training to develop your teams’ resilience?

Discover what top achievers do when the going gets tough.

Learn more