At the recent MindBodySpirit Festival I was so taken with one stallholder’s story that I bought two of his products. It just so happens the products were really good but what I was really buying was him; I bought his story.
When I approached his stall he was smiling, enthusiastic and open. Friendly. I started poking around and he asked me, not intrusively, whether I would like to know about the product. As any salesperson would, he proceeded to give me the background of the product – the story of his father and the trials and tribulations of discovering such a ground-breaking formula in vitamins. But the difference was – his story was genuinely touching. You could see the pure love he felt for his dad – not to mention the amount of knowledge he had on the subject.
Here’s what I learnt from this man on the art of believability:
Tell your story: Two unconscious questions people ask themselves upon first encountering you are: “Can I trust this person?,” and “Will this person look after my best interests?” The chances of them answering “yes” to each of those are better if you relate to that person on a very real level. Telling your story of the triumphs experienced or the anguish faced to get where you are today can be instantly attractive to potential clients. People are attracted to those they can relate to. If you’re not sharing any real substance, then what have they got to go on?
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Speak from the heart: Believability usually comes from speaking from your heart – telling your truth as you see it. While this might seem to put you in a vulnerable position, I would argue it is a position of strength and power. Your story is not dressed up, it’s not fancy, it doesn’t have additional bells and whistles. It’s simply real and spoken with true feeling. Don’t pretend to be something that you’re not.
Fake it until you make it: Now this may sound like it’s in direct contradiction to the above but it’s not. Believability also comes from experience. Sometimes we don’t yet have that experience and this can cause us to project the “do you know I haven’t done this that many times before?” stamp on our foreheads. If you don’t believe in yourself just yet – fake it. Act like you believe in yourself (still speaking your truth) and the physiology will take hold. Here’s a test: Stand tall with your shoulders back and think about your truth (story). Notice how you feel in your body. Notice how you breathe.
Now let’s try the reverse. Stand with your shoulders hunched and your head down whilst thinking about your truth. Notice the difference?
If you start talking about your passion with a strong, open, confident gait – look out World.
Your gait is your fate.
Increase your knowledge: Belief in yourself also comes with increased knowledge. Know your product or service inside and out and look at what questions are left outstanding. Granted, sometimes you won’t know the answer (you’re only human after all) but if you’re well researched you’ll feel more comfortable saying, “You know what, that’s a great question. Let me endeavour to find out for you.” People will see your confidence, not your lack of knowledge.
So I guess the lesson here for soloists is: stand tall, work hard and keep it real (wink).
Do you have any tips to share on how to be believable?