2 min read
The buzzword these days is authenticity (arguably this word is already passé), and we’re all trying to “be more authentic”. But where do we even start? Aren’t we already just being ourselves all the time? And why is getting real so important anyway?
Bringing all of you to what you say in your business can mean the difference between getting or not getting a client. All things being equal, if your potential clients feel a connection with your competitor over you, they will hire your competitor. It's that simple. Business is all about relationships, so if you can show them your uniqueness, your quirks, your humor from the beginning, they will start to feel a connection, engage, and ideally hire you.
So how can you get REAL in your communication so you can show up as your brightest self, inspire clients, and engage people in what you're doing? Read this first of three posts in the series to find out how.
"Our normal sensation of self is a hoax, or, at best, a temporary role that we are playing, or have been conned into playing."
—Alan Watts, The Book: On The Taboo Against Knowing Who You Really Are
#1 GO OFF SCRIPT
Just like actors in a play, we have conspired to play a character, to have a specific motivation, to react in alignment with our story. “I am a forty-something entrepreneur: excited about my message, ready to network.” Or, “I am a businessman: buttoned up, somewhere to BE.”
But this scripted existence is not who we are. This is just a very convenient place for our ego to rest and carry out its prime directive of control at all costs. If our character knows its lines, knows how it’s supposed to react to others, how it should look and sound, then the ego can relax because it just has to follow the script.
Our authenticity lies in the white space too. Our “realness” is observant, mindful, and listening. It’s not planning the next thing to say. It’s not thinking about the future or the past because it’s too busy being. Leaving yourself wide open in the not knowing like this is pretty vulnerable stuff, AND it’s what breathes life into you.
I did a talk once in front of about 30 women for International Women's Day. I love doing talks and presentations, so I was really excited preparing for it, especially because I was going to strip down to my skivvies during the talk. I won't go into why I made that decision (all you need to know is it was a total success, of course!). What is important here is that I had scripted my actions to my words SO PRECISELY, that when I got on stage and nerves took over (I was going to be taking off my clothes after all) I blanked out because I forgot one word. I was so bound to the script that I paralyzed myself.
In the moment, I was quick to realize what I needed was to refresh my page, so to speak, to get myself back online. So I smiled, did a little twirl, then came back to life and took my clothes off. Although it wasn't planned, that one act of getting real on stage showed some serious vulnerability, and many women came up to me afterwards and shared how impressed they were at how I recovered. So it wasn't the talk itself, or even taking my clothes off that got me connected with those women. It was me going off script and getting REAL.
Allow yourself to go off script. Allow yourself to not know what you're going to say next. Sure, have an outline, but let your clients FEEL you by not designing every last word in advance. People feel that visceral energy of the moment, and THAT'S what makes them lean in.
How else can you get REAL so you can connect with potential clients? Stay tuned for the second in this three part series.
Struggling to define and communicate your brand? Get clear with the Brand Identity Brief free download here.