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by Vault Careers | December 01, 2011


Credibility counts, especially at the office. This extends not solely to your job performance, but also the message you communicate, what you talk about, and how you talk.

According to communication expert Dianna Booher, words have to match actions, so if you say you’re going to do something, you should do it.  In addition to meeting your deadlines and hitting all your goals, it’s vital to establish trust in your communications – both verbal and written, including social – otherwise you’ll run the risk of lowering your hallway credibility.  Once you’ve lost it, it’s all but impossible to win back, she says.  Think of the saying – actions speak louder than words.  However, if your actions match those words, it gives your communication that much more power. 

Booher is the author of Communicate With Confidence.  The bestselling classic aimed at improving readers’ communication skills has been recently revised and expanded by McGraw-Hill.  There are over 1,200 tips for increasing communication skills in her book.  Booher promises that just following some the rules mentioned in her book will help readers, of any skill level, establish hallway credibility in no time.  Here are five quick tips to get you started: 

Show Concern. People will care about you and more importantly trust you, when you care about them.  People want to know that they have a sympathetic ear in you. Even companies need to show concern over individuals before rectifying situations.

Admit What You Don’t Know.  When people smell blood, they start to dig. It’s human instinct to push when they feel they are being bluffed.  Admitting ignorance is a simple principle, easy to remember, easy to accomplish, but a difficult pill to swallow.  Nothing makes people believe what you do know like admitting what you don’t.

Keep Confidences.  When people know you share personal, confidential matters about others with them, they fear you’ll do the same to them.  Breaking confidences speaks volumes about your character. Those who observe your ability to keep your promises and your confidences will begin to trust you with their real feelings.

Avoid Exaggeration. Did you wait on the phone for five seconds, or five minutes? Did the supplier raise the rates by 2% or 10%?  Did the scores dip to 30 or down to 10?  Exaggeration makes for great humor, but it is a credibility killer.

Accept Responsibility.  If you were involved in the decisions, actions, and results, or had some control over a situation that didn’t end the way others wanted it to, own up to it. Shirkers suffer credibility gaps.

To find out more, check out the book at 

--Jon Minners,


Filed Under: Workplace Issues

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