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 be a second-rate version of someone you are not?
Here are our tips:
- Create a connection with your words: use words that engage, create interest AND reflect what you truly think and feel.
- Be clear and direct: don’t try to be too smart or clever – it might just confuse your message and your listeners.
- Know and accept the best of yourself: you are who you are – embrace this with conviction and courage.
- Don’t hide your emotions: people usually empathise and respect you if you are transparent and own up to your vulnerabilities.
- Move out of your comfort zone: push past your fears and don’t be held back by learned behaviour and limiting beliefs that might no longer apply.
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