Raising Your Credibility Score

This post is another in a series of articles that grew out of a breakout session at Willow Creek's Arts Conference a few weeks ago. The session was Thriving at Front of House, and speakers included Robert Scovill, Chris Gille and Scott Ragsdale. I give Scovi credit in advance for much of the content herein. As usual, it will be interspersed with my thoughts and commentary.

I hear from younger sound guys (an occasionally older ones) that they don't get no respect (with apologies to Mr. Dangerfield) from musicians, their pastor or the church leadership. Sometimes that's due to ignorance or egos, but sometimes it's because the engineer in question (brace yourself for some potentially hard words here) doesn't deserve the respect he or she things is due. With the incendiary comments out of the way, let's unpack that.

Scovill talked a lot about your "Credibility Score." That looks a lot like credit score and it's something you should take just as seriously. He talked about some guys who are consistently able to get gigs that they may not be the best qualified for simply because they built up such a reputation for being credible. Others manage to keep gigs they shouldn't based strictly on talent because they are credible. Just like a credit score, you earn points for consistently being prepared and staying ahead of the game. The more you do that, the higher your score. Then when you need to speak truth into a situation, people will listen to you. If you come off like a know-it-all punk, well, you know the reaction.

Here's the deal: We teach people how to treat us. It seems counter-intuitive, right? We all know that we like to be treated with respect. However, we often teach people that we are not worthy of respect because of the way we behave. If we are consistently late, or don't fix problems quickly or are unprepared, others won't take us seriously—mainly because we don't take our own role seriously! You've heard it said, "God is in the details," so why do we get so lax about doing sound in church because, "It's only church?" This is entirely the wrong attitude! Our church gigs should be our best gigs because they're for the King of Kings.

Texting when you should be mixing won't help win points with the worship team. Making the band wait while you figure out which mic to plug into which channel won't endear you to the band leader. Updating your Facebook status while the pastors mic is ringing will not set you up as a credible authority on live sound.

Now with this food for thought laid out there for feasting, tomorrow we'll talk about specific ways we can raise our credibility score.