The rise and rise of the maverick, “anti-establishment” public figure shows just how hungry we are for people who appear to be authentic. They’re not the well-rehearsed, factory-produced corporates that we’ve been used to seeing over many years.
But how do we make ourselves a little bit more like….well, ourselves, in our working lives? And how do we communicate more authentically with the wider world?
Once these are aligned, it’s time to seek out opportunities for delivering authentic communications to the world beyond your immediate environment.
Here’s five short steps that might help along the way.
1. Use storytelling
Thanks to the influence of social media, successful public speaking has become synonymous with storytelling and emotional content. Audiences want to hear personal stories and to be inspired by the person on the stage in front of them. Your stories are unique – make the most of them.
2. Speak from the heart
Overly-scripted Powerpoints and endless facts and figures are on out and personal authenticity is in.
That doesn’t mean you need to be polished, experienced or overly trained. But speaking from the heart is no longer the preserve of great political leaders or celebrities – being connected to your values, feelings and beliefs can help you to understand the message and content that you would like to deliver.
Yes, you may be a company or organisational representative but you are also a human being, so draw on your personal experiences to bring your messages alive.
3. Ditch the lectern
Panel debates or “fireside chats” are becoming a more popular form of speaking from a stage, rather than the lecture from the lectern.
Audiences want to know that they are seeing something of the real personality behind the speaker. It can also be a much more enjoyable way to get your message across.
The mood may be more conversational but an audience will still expect you (and want you) to have an opinion. They will also expect you to be passionate and enthusiastic – you will come to life more by speaking authentically from personal experience about things that matter to you.
4. Personalise your “key messages”
Whether it’s a media interview or a job interview, use a combination of confidence and personal belief that strikes a chord with people who see it, because it’s both serious and engaging at the same time.
Journalists and perspective employers want to interview human beings, not robots.
Many people are interview trained to within an inch of their lives and while it’s great to appear confident, there’s also a danger in the repetition of pre-prepared messages in a parrot fashion that doesn’t sound sincere.
5. Bring something of yourself to the party
Connecting with your inner self can help you to become confident enough to bring something more of yourself to the party. Strong body language and eye contact are essential in any communication. But it’s also important to bring an element of performance to an interview – think of it as you, but on a really good day.
My-Fi: How To Connect With Yourself And Those Around You, by Ken Kelling and Chris Wood, is available to download as a free e-book here.