Authenticity is more than a buzz word. It is a critical factor in your career and business success. But with so many pressures on you to do and be what other people expect, how can you project your true authentic self and still get ahead in the following situations?
- job interviews
Your power of marketing and personal branding is supercharged when you can find, connect with and project your true authentic self in all business situations – including job interviews, networking, presentations and day to day interactions with other people.
So who are you? If you find yourself answering this question with details of what you do (i.e., your occupation, your title, your accomplishments, your martial status, etc.), then you have not yet discovered your true authentic self. It’s a journey of personal discovery that is worth taking. It also offers great business and career benefits!
More than a belly button examination. Understanding your own personal authenticity can be tricky, if not uncomfortable. You must be willing to really face yourself and to be honest with yourself. It requires some introspection. You may also benefit from some feedback from others. The good news is that each one of us is truly unique and has intrinsic value just in our being. We are all magnificent. The challenge is to bring out that magnificence in a way that allows you to be comfortable in your own skin and successful.
Arthur Samuel Joseph, author of Voice of a Leader and founder of the Vocal Awareness Institute, says that we must all learn to own our personal power. Imagine “not being afraid of what you think of me while I’m merely being me.” He reminds us that in the process of being socialized as young kids, we learned to deny ourselves and to conform. He asks “Was this by choice or abdication?” He suggests that it is our “birthright to be who you are.” Mr. Joseph poses these two questions for our consideration of who we truly are:
- How are you presently perceived?
- How would you like to be perceived?
I’d like to add a few more questions for your to ponder as you consider the question of who your authentic self really is…
- What gets you out of bed in the morning?
- What’s important to you in your life? Why is this important to you?
- What makes you happy?
- What reputation do you want to build for yourself?
- Who inspires you and why?
- Who do you inspire?
- What are you best at doing?
- Where do these talents and passions come from?
- Does your voice quality, posture and movements embody who you truly are?
- Here are a few ideas on how you can learn to project your true authentic self in various communication settings:
In Networking Situations…
Your success in networking increases when you can connect well with the other person. Your ability to build rapport with other people is paramount to making the connection. I encourage people to share something of themself with the people whom they are networking with. What are you passionate about? What personal information can you share with them that might establish a more meaningful connection? Can you bring your whole person to the conversation? What would happen if you did? What would happen if you didn’t? What wouldn’t happen if you did?
- For more tips on how to become a more natural networker, read this article: Perfect Your Pitch_the most important 30 seconds of your business day
In Presentation / Speaking Situations…
Motivational Speaker & Attorney, L. Kay Wilson told me once that the key to successful public speaking is how quickly you can become your authentic self. It usually takes people between 5-20 minutes to settle down and to get comfortable presenting in front of a group. By that time, the first impression has already been set (in the first 3 minutes) and you may have already lost your audience, and a bit of your credibility and reputation to boot.
In my presentation training workshop I teach business professionals to master the art of high engagement presentations without technical crutches (i.e., PowerPoint-FREE presenting!). Just the fact that you can choose HOW you want to communicate rather than succumbing to what you believe is the expected business norm (i.e., PowerPoint presentation), you are exercising your authentic self muscles. It is a choice after all. You can be a successful communicator and an influential speaker and presenter by doing it “your way.” Dare to be different. Dare to be YOU!.
In Job Interviewing Situations…
More than just meeting the job specifications, a large part of the final hiring decision falls into the “will he/she fit into our culture.” That is also a question and decision that you must make for yourself. Will you fit in? Do you want to fit in? Can you be yourself in this environment?
How will you know the answer to this important question? Part of it comes from giving yourself the permission to be your true authentic self during the interviewing process. This may require that you push away any fears or pressures that may be linked to “needing a job” and empower yourself with the idea that you too have choice. You are interviewing them just as much as they are interviewing you. Wow – what a concept. Imagine the kind of confidence you could project just holding that thought in your head?
So go head and be yourself. And remember what Arthur Samuel Joesph said about the need to own your personal power. “Not being afraid of what you think of me while I’m merely being me.”