Before a recent presentation, a woman asked me a question I’ve never been asked. I was shaking hands with the audience when it happened.
“What makes you qualified to give this presentation?”
I searched her face to discern her intent. Was she angry? Challenging? She seemed sincere and pleasant, but resolved to hear a real answer.
“Wow! That’s an interesting question,” I replied.
After a pause for contemplation, I said, “Social confirmation.”
I could have talked about education, achievements, skills, or experience. My white hair makes me look like a man of experience. I have degrees. I’m good at a few things. I’ve written over 2,500 short articles in seven years.
Education, achievements, skills, and experience demonstrate our qualifications. But they don’t open the door for me to give presentations, lead workshops, and coach leaders. A large following – social confirmation – opens doors.
When others see your value – others see your value.
Leverage social confirmation:
A long line at the restaurant is social confirmation. If the parking lot is empty, we have enough “evidence” to determine the food stinks.
Social confirmation validates worth and extends influence.
You damage others, teams, and yourself when you badmouth the people around you.
Don’t be surprised if the people you tear down find it difficult to get things done. The way you talk about people elevates their status or weakens their authority.
Respect given – while others are watching – impacts one’s ability to influence others and get things done.
#1. Give public acknowledgement. Praise is social confirmation. Gratitude might be a private matter, but praise requires an audience.
#2. Don’t make others look bad so you can look good. Social dis-confirmation lowers our ability to get things done through others.
#3. Spread the good word. Leverage customer testimonials to elevate the status and influence of team members.
How might leaders leverage social confirmation to increase the effectiveness of colleagues and team members?