As a public speaker, your audience’s trust is crucial. If they don’t trust you, they won't listen - and they won’t be receptive to your message.
Luckily - it's all too easy to unwittingly destroy the trust of your audience!
Here are some tips for destroying trust (and perhaps building it too)
Confidence: If you want to damage trust, I'd advise that you don't make eye contact, deliver in an uncertain pitch at slightly too fast a rate of speech. That would pretty much undermine any presentation.
Your audience needs to trust that you can handle the task at hand. To build this confidence, practice your presentation thoroughly, and be sure to project a calm and collected demeanor. Eye contact is a key factor in demonstrating confidence, but it’s not the only one. You also need to be comfortable with pauses and silences, and be able to handle mistakes with grace. Confidence in your subject matter is just as much as confidence in your manner of delivery.
Integrity: Behave as if you've got all the answers, even if you don't. Tell stories that don't have an ounce of truth and avoid admitting to anything uncomfortable. That should ensure the audience don't trust you one bit.
Your audience needs to believe that you are trustworthy and authentic. To build this type of trust, be sure to be honest and transparent in your presentation. Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know” if you’re not sure of an answer. And be sure to reveal something about yourself personally, such as a story of your own struggles or mistakes. This helps to build a connection with your audience and demonstrate your authenticity.
Audience-centeredness: Make it all about you and your ego, your achievements. Be smug about your results. Speak to the audience as if you're better than them and make sure the goal of this presentation isn't to make the audience, feel, remember or do anything - the goal of your presentation should be self-aggrandisement!
Your audience needs to feel that you care about their needs and concerns. To build this type of trust, be sure to think about your audience when preparing your presentation. What are their concerns? What are their goals? And how can you help them achieve those goals? Be genuinely interested in helping your listeners, and make sure that your presentation feels like a conversation rather than a lecture.
In conclusion, destroying trust with your audience is surprisingly easy, but building trust is a process that requires careful consideration and effort. By following these tips, you can establish yourself as a trustworthy and effective public speaker who connects with your audience and delivers a message that resonates.
Remember, trust is earned, and it’s up to you to demonstrate your integrity and value to your audience.
Mark Westbrook - Speaking Coach