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When giving a speech or writing a paper, it's important to keep in mind how the audience perceives you. How much of your information they trust depends on your level of credibility. Credibility is another way of saying how trustworthy something is. To build your credibility in an informative speech outline, you must give your audience reasons why you would be right.

Some things you might include to make your audience think you're credible are your background, your experience with the subject matter or personal characteristics that make you intrinsically trustworthy.

What Is a Credibility Statement?

A credibility statement is a sentence or two in a paper or a speech that discusses reasons why the audience should trust the speaker. A credibility statement is generally introduced toward the beginning of an informative speech outline, directly after the introduction of the subject. The credibility statement’s purpose is to convince the audience that the speaker is trustworthy and the information they're providing is credible.

For example, if you were giving a speech about ocean conservation, you might include the fact that you grew up living at the beach. If you've been researching oceanography for years, including that information would further boost your credibility.

How to Write a Convincing Credibility Statement

Credibility statements rely on rhetorical appeals, primarily an appeal to ethics. Ethical appeals boost the audience’s trust of the speaker by introducing information that defines the speaker’s character. The best ethical appeals are directly related to the content of the paper or speech. For example, a doctor giving a medical presentation would bring up their degrees and research. But a doctor giving a presentation about writing would not necessarily boost his credibility by bringing up his medical degree.

To write an appropriate credibility statement, succinctly give information about your background that lets your audience know you would reasonably have access to the information you're sharing. In an informative speech outline, place the statement toward the beginning of your speech. If you feel that your background does not match your subject, you can substitute feelings of goodwill for your audience.

If your audience feels like you have their best interest at heart, they will be more likely to trust the information that you share. You can also add related information about yourself that paints you as the speaker or writer in a positive light, highlighting your trustworthy character.

Speech Outline Example Credibility Statements

Speech outline example statement one to highlight experience: "Ever since I began my dissertation on the effects of fossil fuel consumption on air quality, I have spent 15 years studying alternative fuels."

Speech outline example statement one to express goodwill: "I hope that, by the time you leave here today, you will feel empowered to manage your own money."

Speech outline example statement one to illustrate character: "After I returned home from the Peace Corps, I spent the next ten years teaching reading in inner city schools."