Voice & Speech Newsletter

Professional Credibility

Speaking with Authority

Jennifer is in her early thirties, smart, talented and very effective in her role as account manager for a large marketing firm. She’s bubbly, talkative and tends to speak and move at a fast pace. She projects youthful energy and under pressure might seem a bit nervous.

Despite her experience, her excellent performance and high potential, Jennifer often struggles to win the respect of new clients and exert the kind of influence she desires, especially in the early stages of the relationship. People tend to assume she’s young and therefore inexperienced so they underestimate her level of expertise. Her input is sometimes ignored or dismissed; she’s not entrusted with important projects and misses strategic opportunities for advancement.

Jennifer has a credibility problem. If you can relate to her situation or something similar, you might want to consider ways to address that issue

The perception of credibility is admittedly subjective and not always accurate. But it’s formed very early in the interaction and determined at a subconscious, emotional level more than at a conscious rational level.

Here are some personal attributes you can cultivate to make sure you’re projecting an image that communicates substance and authority.

Be grounded. Feel the ground underneath you and relax down onto that firm foundation. When you’re not aware of grounding, your body tends to pull itself away from the ground. You project a physical presence that’s high and tense, not relaxed and settled. People get the feeling that you’re a lightweight.

Be aligned. Take advantage of your full height. I’m not talking about “chin up, chest out, shoulders back and belly in.” That just makes you tenser, and it certainly doesn’t look relaxed and authentic. This needs to be a relaxed alignment, not a forced posture. Stand on both feet and imagine allowing your ankles, knees, hipbones, shoulders and ears to be on a vertical line.

Great Speaker Series


Spotlight on

Rebecca Davies

Doctors Without Borders

Learn more about one of our valued clients.

Recommended Book


The Credibility Code

How to Project Confidence and Competence When It Matters Most

I read a summary review of this book in the Globe & Mail, and my first thought was that Ms. Alter must have been reading my blog. (I mean that as a compliment.)


Congratulations to Evan, the winner of our first SpeechMaster giveaway! Let’s do it again! Suggest a topic relevant to voice and public speaking that you’d like to see addressed in a future issue of this newsletter. Submit your idea by September 25 and your name will automatically be entered into a draw for a free introductory SpeechMaster session ($100 value).


Cultivate a relaxed sense of openness around your mouth, when speaking. On average, you should have about one finger-width of space between your teeth. Speaking with less space weakens your voice, impairs articulation, makes you look less confident and gives listeners the feeling you’re hiding something.


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