It’s the back end of 2017 and there are only 3 left in this series of blogs.  I want to make the most of it so I am going for the longest word of its type.

For October Our key word will be VERISIMILITUDE.

Verisimilitude means having the appearance of truth, credibility, honesty. These are things that lie at the very heart of what it means to be in business. In discussing last month’s blog (Rectitude) we referred to Morality, goodness and integrity. On reflection I realised that Honesty and integrity are kind of old fashioned concepts that are rarely talked about any more. Ethics in business is almost never mentioned but reputation remains vital to business success.


So what about VERISIMILITUDE you ask. This word means, as I said, the appearance of truth, credibility, honesty.  So how do I create a credibility a charisma, a sense of real trust, that genuinely demonstrates that I am ethical in business? How do I create this appearance of truth when I am dealing with people? How do they become aware that I am what I say I am? I think first impressions last.

The 4 by 2 Rule (which I mentioned last month on upstarts) says that we make a first judgement in just 4 seconds and use the next 2 minutes to affirm our judgement. NOT to confirm or deny but we look for reasons to affirm our initial assessment.  All of this is based on our fight or flight instinct which we have re tuned to 21st century society.

So here are my top 6 tips for creating verisimilitude in the first 5 minutes.

1.     Anyone who listens to Upstarts has met the man with the golden handshake Ross Lauder. We have discussed on air the types of handshake you can receive.  I think it’s a bit like Goldilocks. One is too hard, one too soft and there is also the one that is just right. The person who greets you with an honest handshake shows you there and then how they will behave in business.

2.     Eye contact: This one causes so many problems.  Pause too long and you are staring into the person’s eyes. Don’t pause long enough you appear shifty eyed.  5 – 8 seconds is about right.

3.     The Body Language. 93% of all communication is non-verbal. You will pick up these cues from me immediately. If my body language is closed or defensive you will know about it and you have to trust that knowledge When you combine that with the handshake and the eye contact the message is getting through at a pre conscious level

4.     The Vocal is now added to the visual. Tone of voice even the depth of the voice matters.  A very deep voice was definitely part of why the late Gerry Ryan had such powerful radio credibility.  If you listen to Margaret Thatcher speaking in 1979 and compare her with a speech 15 years later she has been coached to deepen her voice.

5.     Energy Emphasis and Emotion We all had a teacher in school who was either muttering or spoke in a monotone. A voice without colour is never credible. One which demonstrates no emotion, or worse still false emotion will never be believed

6.     Finally after all that is the actual words we have used that last 7% of the communication. Don’t waffle on. Get to the point; preferably ask a question to engage the other person and then shut up.  Allow the conversation to breathe.

7.     I saved the best for last. Listen attentively to the other person. Don’t go off into your head looking for an interesting anecdote or point. Just be actually present to the other person. Make sure they know you are listening and you care about what they are saying.

After the conversation is over the person will feel better because you listened and above everything else, that is what will create a sense of  VERISIMILITUDE.

Just think about how much you trust and believe people who listen to you. That is partly because they have the appearance of truth: VERISIMILITUDE

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