As a business leader, it’s imperative to be confident in the service you provide and the business you run. Susan Ward, expert on small business influence and head of Cypress Technologies, says, “Other people sense whether or not you believe in yourself and by extension, whether or not you believe in what you’re doing. That belief is what persuades the customer or client to buy the product or service.”
There is a tried-and-true approach to improved confidence in the professional world, but many business leaders have not discovered it, and that is stunting their potential. This confidence-building strategy is third-party credibility, earned through public relations efforts.
Credibility and confidence depend on one another. A leader cannot neglect one and expect the other to improve. Earning and leveraging respect in the business world leads to improved confidence. Improved confidence leads to more opportunities for credibility. This relationship is the key to business success.
How confidence will earn credibility
Confidence is vital to effectively leverage public relations efforts and earn the credibility you deserve. Trusted media placements such as TV appearances, speaking engagements and quotes in professional publications generate third-party credibility. By their very nature, these earned media placements seek widespread publicity. But you will not influence your audience if you are not confident.
Psychologist Sherrie Campbell writes about the importance of confidence within communication, stating, “In each interaction it is not what you communicate but how you communicate that makes all the difference.” When earning credibility, confidence is essential, and arguably more important than what you are actually saying.
A popular study involving college students conducted by Frost, Stimpson and Maughan highlights the positive relationship between confidence and credibility. The study, in which undergraduate students completed questionnaires about their peers, shows that people with a higher sense of self-esteem and social influence are considered more trustworthy by others, and therefore more credible.
Overall, confident business leaders are better equipped to take advantage of media opportunities and successfully persuade consumers. In a 2019 study published in Forbes, leaders with higher measures of self-confidence were seen as more motivating to others and better able to represent their company to customers.
How credibility will boost confidence
As business leaders build credibility through public relations, they also build their own confidence. Earned media placements prove that trustworthy publications respect your work so much that they are willing to stake their own reputation on it. Major outlets recognizing you as an expert in your field guarantees that your name has value and your expertise is trusted.
Lolly Daskal, President and CEO of Lead From Within, says, “Credibility is, in a way, a higher bar than success. It means others look at you as a reliable resource and decision maker. It allows those who rely on you to know they can count on you, trust you, do business with you and align with you.”
For business leaders, there is very little that is more important than confidence. But doubt creeps in easily, so it is more important than ever to take advantage of media opportunities. Now is the time to focus on public relations and earned media to bolster your own sense of self-trust. Credibility and confidence go hand in hand; investing in both is critical to successful business leadership.
Emma Ford is a public relations associate at Flackable, a national, full-service public relations agency headquartered in Philadelphia. To learn more about Flackable, please visit www.flackable.com.