1. Al Gore – Former U.S. Presidential Candidate
Current Occupation: Environmental Conservation Advocate
2. Warren Buffet – CEO Berkshire Hathaway, 2nd Richest Man in the World, Estimated fortune $55 Billion
Current Occupation: Investor, Philanthropist
3. Oprah Winfrey – first Billionaire African American, Pioneer of televised intimate public discourse
Current Occupation – Retired, Philanthropist.
4. Mark Zuckerberg – Creator of Facebook
Current occupation – Facebook owner and CEO
5. Barrack Obama – First African American U.S. President
Current Occupation – President of the United States
The various individuals that have been listed above have all impacted U.S. society in their own unique way. Mark Zuckerberg has helped changed the way we communicate and interact with people online, Barack Obama has shown that minorities can rise to great heights of achievement, Oprah Winfrey became one of the first African American billionaires showing that poverty among minorities can be overcome, Al Gore is championing the cause of the environmental movement even though he lost in his run to be president and finally Warren Buffet has become a stellar example of proper and responsible investing in a world where investors are thought to be cut throat and purely money oriented. All these individuals in their own way reflect the qualities inherent to credibility through their own legitimizing factor.
Legitimizing factors refer to aspects inherent to these particular individuals that lend a certain amount of credence and authority to their words and deeds (Tormala, 684). This can come in the form of either academic knowledge in their particular field, recent notable accomplishments from which they received public acclaim and distinction, or even a certain type of distinction attained through current actions or the attainment of a particular position of notability (Tarver, 412).
This legitimizing factor can be seen in the various individuals given as examples since through their inherent qualities such as their character in the public eye they are afforded a certain level of credibility which in turn gives them the ability to properly persuade audiences regarding the righteousness of their actions or statements.
As seen from the various examples given, they all come from diverse backgrounds ranging from politics, economics to technological development yet each has a distinct similarity in terms of the attitude they bring to the public eye. Each of these individuals emphasize on the nearly endless opportunities available to the common individual.
They state that individuals can create great things as it can be seen from their own experiences, that the only limitation is a person’s inability to see the opportunity that is right before their eyes. What must also be understood is that credibility often comes hand in hand with the accomplishments and “power” that a person currently wields. In the case of the examples given one distinct types of power emerges, namely, the power of influence through accomplishment.
From Al Gore all the way down to Barack Obama the power of influence through accomplishment can be seen in the various goals these people set for themselves and actually accomplished which lends them a distinct air of credibility in terms of public perception towards them. As a result this creates a form of empowerment through which these particular individuals are given credibility through public identification with their various accomplishments.
Based on what has been presented on the various individuals chosen for this paper it can be seen that creation of the perception of credibility is often attached to either particular accomplishments or a sense of public identification for that particular individual towards a particular subject that creates perception of credibility.
As such when addressing an audience during persuasive presentations it often important to create an initial sense of public identification between you as a speaker and the topic that you are discussing. This often comes in the form of stating that you accomplished a particular task which gives you the ability to speak about it or that you’ve attained a certain degree of educational accomplishment in a particular field enabling you to make your own persuasive arguments regarding it.
Tarver, Jerry. “Communication and Credibility.” Vital Speeches of the Day 47.13 (1981): 412. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 4 June 2011.
Tormala, Zakary L., Pablo Brinol, and Richard E. Petty. “When credibility attacks: The reverse impact of source credibility on persuasion.” Journal of Experimental
Social Psychology 42.5 (2006): 684-691. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 4 June 2011.