The Concept of Credibility in Rhetoric

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The Concept of Credibility in Rhetoric

Rhetoric is the use and manipulation of language by authors to persuade an audience. We can look at how all of those contextual elements shape the author’s creation of the text once we understand the rhetorical situation in which it was created (why it was written, for whom it was written, by whom it was written, how the medium in which it was written creates certain constraints, or perhaps freedoms of expression).

In rhetoric, credibility is a trait that can be developed by an individual who can convince others of his or her abilities. Many factors can contribute to a speaker’s credibility, including personality, social skills, competence, and character.

1. What Is Credibility?

The objective and subjective components of a source’s or message’s believably are credibility. Credibility has two fundamental components in the traditional and modern senses: trustworthiness and expertise, both of which have objective and subjective components. Although subjective criteria such as established reliability play a role in determining trustworthiness, objective measurements such as established reliability can also be used. Expertise can be subjectively viewed in the same way, but it also incorporates objective features of the source or message. Source dynamism and physical appeal are secondary components of credibility.

In today’s world, credibility refers to a combination of reasoning and evidence. Generally, evidence is used to prove or disprove a proposition. Using evidence, a speaker can build a case for something through logic. For example, a speaker may draw a conclusion based on evidence by moving from one instance to another. Likewise, they can draw conclusions based on the evidence they present.

In addition to the principles of logic and evidence, credibility also refers to the process of creating and reinforcing a belief or action. In rhetoric, this involves creating a common ground between the speaker and their audience. Hence, establishing credibility is vital for a speaker to gain the audience’s trust. An authoritative speaker projects an image of confidence and intelligence in the audience.

2. What Does Credibility Mean in a Speech?

If you want to persuade an audience, you must first earn their trust and establish your credibility as a speaker. As a speaker, you must demonstrate that you have your audience’s best interests at heart, that you are educated about the subject you are discussing, and that the evidence you provide to support your case is reliable.

If you want to persuade an audience, you must first earn their trust and establish your credibility as a speaker. As a speaker, you must demonstrate that you have your audience’s best interests at heart, that you are educated about the subject you are discussing, and that the evidence you provide to support your case is reliable. The speaker must convey the confidence and intelligence necessary to gain trust from the audience.

Credibility is a quality that a speaker uses to establish trust with an audience. This is the ability to reflect confidence and intelligence in an audience. It can also be used to build rapport with an audience. It is crucial to building a relationship with your audience to trust your message.

In modern communication, credibility is a characteristic that allows you to establish trust with an audience. This is the ability to demonstrate confidence and intelligence. It also allows you to show confidence to your audience. In other words, you need to build credibility to convince an audience. The audience will feel safe with you to reflect their confidence and intelligence. This is crucial to the success of a presentation.

3. What Are the Types of Credibility?

Each speaker has a varied level of trustworthiness. If you go to a technology conference to hear a keynote speaker, for example, you can assume the speaker has some form of technical background. If you’re listening to a classmate give a speech, you can notice that you’ve come to trust and cherish this person’s words. Credibility can be divided into three categories:

Initial Credibility

 Initial credibility refers to an individual’s credibility before giving a speech; it is primarily based on the speaker’s reputation and qualifications if they are known to the audience. Consider the letters of your name to recall your early credibility. Isn’t it true that if someone asks for your initials, they’re asking for the first letters of your name? The first level of credibility with an audience is initial credibility. If you’re speaking in front of peers you don’t know; you probably don’t have much credibility to begin with. How nervous you look to be, how prepared you appear to be, and even how you dress will all contribute to your first trustworthiness.

Derived Credibility

 Derived credibility is the credibility that individual gains while giving a speech; it is based on the quality of the speech and the speaker’s professionalism. Consider the word ‘derived.’ This word’s dictionary definition is ‘to take or obtain anything from’ or ‘to obtain something from a source.’ Your credibility, in this case, stems from the speech you provide. When it comes to speakers who lack initial credibility, derived credibility is crucial. The concept of derived credibility is applied not only in public speaking but also in job interviews, where your sole initial credibility maybe your resume or contacts.

Terminal Credibility 

After giving a speech, an individual’s terminal credibility is the amount of credibility he or she has gained or lost. Consider terminal credibility to be the audience’s lasting perception of a speech and a speaker. Terminal credibility differs from derived credibility because it lasts far longer than derived credibility. If you like a speaker and have a lot of starting credibility, but he or she gives a bad speech, the derived credibility from the speech may be relatively low. This will impact your opinion of the speaker and may make you doubt his or her general reliability. However, if a speaker has strong beginning credibility, one terrible speech will not detract from his or her overall credibility.

4. Credibility in Rhetoric

In rhetoric, credibility is the process of persuading an audience. The speaker can influence the audience’s beliefs by leveraging the evidence. When people feel confident about particular information or idea, they believe that the speaker is credible. This is why they trust a person that demonstrates confidence.

Ethos, pathos, logos, and Kairos are rhetorical appeals. These are Aristotelian phrases that date back to Aristotle, often regarded as the father of rhetoric. An author must engage the audience in compelling ways to be rhetorically effective (and hence persuasive), which requires carefully crafting his or her argument. The desired consequence, audience agreement with the argument or point, is attained. Aristotle described three ways of engagement and coined the labels logos, pathos, and ethos, which we still use today. Kairos was coined by the sophists, which was later taken by Aristotle, and he explained it further.

These terms refer to the essential components of a rhetorical situation as explained below


It means appealing to logic. The person who wants to earn credibility needs to appeal to the logic of the audience or the person they are talking with. When an author uses logos to appeal to the audience, he or she uses logic, meticulous structure, and objective evidence. By presenting facts that can be fact-checked (using numerous sources) and extensive explanations to support crucial points, an author can appeal to the intelligence of an audience. Invoking logos is also a fantastic technique for an author to provide a solid and non-biased explanation of one’s case.


It means appealing to the audience’s values and authorial credibility. On the one hand, an author making an ethical appeal is aiming to tap into the audience’s values or ideologies, such as patriotism, tradition, justice, equality, dignity for all humanity, self-preservation, or other specific social, religious, or philosophical principles (Christian values, socialism, capitalism, feminism, etc.). These values are sometimes compared to emotions; however, they are experienced on a societal rather than a personal level. We call it ethos when an author invokes the values that the audience cares about to justify or support their argument. The audience will believe that the author is making a “correct” argument (in the sense of moral “rightness,” i.e., “My argument is based on principles that are important to you. As a result, you must accept my argument”). The audience’s values are hence the emphasis of the first portion of the definition of ethos.

This meaning of referring to what is “correct” in an ethical appeal, on the other hand, ties to the second definition of ethos: the author. The author-centered ethos centers around two concepts: the author’s legitimacy and character.


 this appeal is generally towards the emotions of the people you want to show that you are credible. When an author uses pathos, he or she attempts to elicit emotional responses from the audience to persuade them to agree with the author’s thesis. When an author uses pathetic appeals, he or she wants the audience to feel something: fury, joy, pride, or happiness. 

Any rhetorical strategy that uses pathos to induce the listener to “open up” to the issue, the argument or the author is considered pathos-based rhetoric. Emotions can make us susceptible, and an author might use this vulnerability to persuade the audience that his or her point of view is convincing.


An appeal to Kairos is a call for something to happen at the right time. When an author employs Kairos, he or she attempts to persuade the audience to take immediate action. Setting a goal or referring to a timeline could help an author create a sense of urgency in this case. Occasionally, the author implies that if his or her instructions are ignored, awful things will happen.


These terms are often confusing for modern communication students, but they correspond to the same essential elements. These rhetoric appeals, which are derived from Greek ancient histories, show that credibility was something that authors and speakers have searched ever since, and to develop them, you need to appeal to different parts of a human’s mind, whether it’s their logic (logos) or their emotions and values (pathos & ethos).

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