Artful Persuasion: How to Command Attention, Change Minds, and Influence People

By Harry Mills | Go to book overview

CHAPTER
4
Persuasion Starts
with Credibility

How to Build Trust
and Sell Your Expertise

THE CREDIBILITY FORMULA

“One can stand as the greatest orator the world has known, possess the quickest mind, employ the cleverest psychology, and have mastered all the technical devices of argument, but if one is not credible one might just as well preach to the pelicans.”1

These words come from Gerry Spence, arguably one of Americas greatest trial lawyers. In a criminal career spanning forty years, Gerry Spence has not lost a single case before a jury.

Spence believes that, to persuade, we must be believable, and to be believable, we must be credible. Spence's views are supported by a wealth of research. Credibility rests on two pillars: trust and expertise.

“To be persuasive, we must be believable. To be believable, we must be credible. To be credible, we must be truthful.”

— Edward R. Murrow

This enables us to picture credibility as a formula:    T           Trust + Expertise = Credibility


The Pillar of Trust

When persuaders lack integrity, we discount everything they say. Whenever we listen to a professional persuader – a lawyer, a salesperson, or a diplomat – among the first questions we ask are: Can I trust this person? Do I believe him or her? Is he or she sincere?

-14-

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