Secrets of authenticity

The word authentic carries with it a number of meanings and implications. First of all, authentic literally translates to “real” or “genuine”. Philosophically and psychologically speaking, it is a term used to describe the degree to which a person is true to his or her own personality, spirit, or character – possibly despite external pressures or extenuating circumstances. With this in mind, who among us would generally not want to be perceived as an authentic communicator? The difficulty in achieving this often lies not in any intentional desire to be inauthentic or to mislead, but rather in getting rid of some barriers. The barriers are frequently self-imposed, difficult to shift and overcome and get in the way of us being real. What happens on the outside – our words, our behaviour as heard and observed by others – is only a reflection of what is happening on the inside. This means that credible and authentic communication really needs to come from a place of authenticity. If we have nothing to hide, can speak openly and honestly and confidently about what is important to us, then we are much more likely have a positive impact. What happens if we are not sure about who we are, or lack the confidence to be our true selves? Covering up and perfecting a facade is one way to go – but this can be exhausting and difficult to maintain. Surely it is better in the long run to remember that we are meant to be real not perfect? What about working towards being a first rate version of yourself rather than pretending to...

Get the words right

Getting the words right is not just important for public speakers. Every day we have the opportunity to influence others in our conversations at work and at home, at meetings and perhaps during presentations. The words you choose and use are the basic building blocks you need to be convincing and to achieve your goals, no matter what those goals might be. Here are our top ten, simple to apply tips that will enable you to make the most of your words and how you use them: State your thoughts in clear and simple language: smart speakers keep the words simple and easy to understand rather than trying to be too clever. Speak in short sentences: long sentences (more than about 20 words) confuse listeners rather than clarifying your point. Be specific: concrete words and examples are more effective than vague descriptions. Be “active” rather than “passive”: the active voice of the verb makes sentences more forceful and powerful. Be direct and positive: if you mean “I”, don’t say “we” and you can be “sure” rather than “hopeful”. Use exciting, power words: grab attention by using power words such as interesting, unusual, important… Ask rhetorical questions: the listener is not expected to answer but their attention is focused on the subject of the question. Build groups of three: for some reason, three is a magical number when it comes to impressing with words e.g. “Our goal is clear, our strategy is effective and our execution is disciplined.” Explain jargon /abbreviations: not a problem if your listeners are familiar with the technical terms and acronyms – otherwise, always explain the...