Your Accomplishments + Stories = Credibility

How do you establish your credibility? How does someone know the ‘real you’? On a professional basis, how can you demonstrate you have experience, get results, are competent?

Traditionally this knowledge comes from the individual knowing you over time and seeing how well what you say and what you do match up – from working shoulder to shoulder with you or observing the outcome of your efforts.
A surrogate for personal knowledge is to have someone stand up for you – to recommend you – and if the inquiring person is willing to accept the recommendation, you may enjoy some level of credibility.
But how can any of this apply when you first meet a person – at a networking activity or on a job interview? Is there a way that you can show who you are about without an implied ‘trust me’ at the end of the description of your skills & abilities?
Yes – tell a story from your experience which highlights your skills & abilities.
You are an accomplished individual – or you would not have made it to the level you have. You need a catalog of these accomplishments and may need to dig deep to get them – people often feel that what they have achieved is ‘no big deal – others have done it too’ – usually that’s not true. Spend some time recalling your accomplishments to have handy when you develop the stories.
The stories are NOT major productions – they are intended to showcase your achievements. The best and most effective stories are made up of three elements: a simple statement of the problem (with specifics about who, when, where, what, and how to add reality), a short rendition of your solution (again with specifics to make clear you were involved, not merely taking notes), and the result – from the viewpoint of the client or person who benefited – be concise when telling about the result but quantify where possible – saved dollars, reduced labor, increased speed, greater efficiency, or whatever.
As you talk about yourself as an effective manager, a innovative leader, or a creative programmer, include stories taken from your accomplishments and experience which show in vivid detail your contribution when addressing the problem and getting results.
By doing the work to recall the accomplishments and creating the stories (write them down!) based on these accomplishments, you can go a far distance in establishing your credibility with the person you just met or are with during the interview.

How do you see this working for you – please share your stories so others can benefit.

Upcoming presentations which may be of interest:

Rainmaker #3 – Process to Purchase
How To Sell Your Skills

300 seconds, March 8, 2011, 6 pm
Capital Technology Management Hub
The Sales Lab Rainmaker Series are five minute tactical selling presentations starting the CTMH Monthly Meetings
How To Turn Prospects Into Clients
Monday, March 21, 6:30 – 8:30 pm, Alexandria, VA
Host: YES!Circle Details and Reservations

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Jeff Ribeira

This is great advice! I really like the idea of having a repository of accomplishments on which to draw from. I think many of us already do this in preparation for formal job interviews, but there are so many other opportunities where this is important. Many of these you just can’t anticipate, and that can be a little scary. I’ve had to do that a few times, and I always left the conversation wondering if what I said was even relevant, showcased my skills/experience as best as I could, etc… If I had had a mental list of particular achievements I think it would have been exponentially more effective as well as less stressful.