How to Validate Someone’s Credibility through Conversation

I recently wrote a blog post that explained the similarities between credibility and reputation. We all experience those days when you are introduced to a whole new group of people. It is during times like these when your credibility takes over, and your reputation goes through the window; when you cannot fall back on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, your blog, or even your resume. You have to rely on the most unappreciated tool that we all have: your word.

Linguistics says a lot about us more than what our conscious mind can even pick up. The English language is truly a remarkable language to speak fluently. There are so many ways to say the same thing, and what most of us don’t even take the time to consider is why some people use certain words. For example here are three similar sentences.

 

“I’m going to see it through.”

“I’m going to hear it through.”

“I’m going to follow it through.”

 

The conscious mind is constantly stringing in thoughts together to put into sentences, but our unconscious mind is the one providing all the words that we connect to make them. When you consider the deeper meaning as to why certain people choose specific words, you can understand the hidden meaning behind what they are saying. Your voice has power and the words behind your voice are what give it strength to captivate the people around you.

For every practical piece of advice you apply to yourself you can use it as a measure for someone else. You can see what they are applying and, more importantly, what they are doing the complete opposite of. An example would be body language. From Amy Cuddy’s amazing TED Talk on body language, she conducted a study that showed being in power stances increase testosterone levels while being in weak stances produced more cortisol. Body language is unconscious behavior, but when you are consciously aware of it, you can then reprogram your subconscious mind to correct itself, fix your posture, and build your confidence.

The same applies when observing someone. Most of the time, you can just take a look at someone’s demeanor and immediately know his or her level of success. There is an attitude and confidence associated with having credibility, that which is unspoken but understood. This isn’t something that you are born with or get overnight; it is something that is developed. Having this attitude and confidence doesn’t have to do with money. They are vibes that you can sense, when the person has attained a given level of achievement.

People reveal who they are all of the time, without knowing. There are several way that you can see someone’s true colors. When I write a blog post, I usually write half of it off the top of my head, and the second half will be based on relevant research. After doing some research on validating credibility, I found that some of the techniques sources mention are quite ridiculous. One post suggested that you judge a man by his outfit. I would have to disagree unless he was dressed like a homeless man (Yeezy). Most millionaires I know wear the same outfit every day. Check out my decision fatigue post on how Mark Zuckerberg wears only one outfit (owning several of the same outfit).

The best technique I have learned to test someone’s credibility is to have them speak about a topic you are very knowledgeable of and ask questions. They say not to judge a man by his answers only by his questions. When you are validating the credibility of someone who claims to have successfully launched a business, ask questions that you know the answer too just to hear his explanation. There are a whole array of possible questions to ask, relating business, relations, coaching, teaching, investments, and much more.

Validating someone’s credibility is important. You are who you surround yourself with, and making sure the people around you who are what they say they are is important to keeping you at your best. You need to make sure that you aren’t wasting your time with whomever you are going to have a meeting over coffee with. You need to value your most important commodity, which is time.

When asking someone information that you already know about, a couple things happens in the mind. For one, we experience confirmation bias as we tend to only filter things that follow our beliefs and reject those that do not. We basically let in what we agree with and push away what we disagree with. When validating someone’s credibility instead of pushing away things that do not confirm our beliefs we must observe them.

Observation is the most underrated tool we have as human beings. We may look at someone when he or she is talking, but we don’t really focus else on what is really going on: how they are speaking, their body language, their word choice, their eye patterns, aspects of their voice (e.g., their tonality), and so much more. Besides everything we see from the exterior, we need to understand what is happening to them on the inside. We need to look past our own stubbornness and understand what they are saying.

In all if you are an expert at marketing, act as if they are more intelligent than you on the topic, and ask questions that you already know the answer to. That way, you can focus on what they are saying, how they are saying it, and the value of what they are saying. Since you already know the answer to the question, you can then evaluate the person’s intelligence by the answer they choose, as a conversational pre-qualifier. There is not a universal question, but anyone can come up with one of their own.