Authenticity is one of those qualities that is not easily defined.
It would be more accurate to state that authenticity is defined by different people in different ways – at least that has been my observation.
For quite some time we have been talking about authenticity here on the social networks. And this week at the annual convention of the National Speakers Association it was a subject frequently mentioned by several of the keynote speakers – all of whom happen to view authenticity in very different ways.
So, without mentioning names, I’m going to share their unique perspectives, all of which are valid.
#1 – Emotional Authenticity
One speaker mentioned that she genuinely loves people, which obviously includes her audiences. Her definition of being authentic is sharing those feelings of being open and honest with people – and being a little bit vulnerable too.
This is how many people feel about authenticity – that if you put your true self out there you will resonate with those you were meant to make connections with.
Emotional authenticity comes from the heart.
#2 – Logical Authenticity
In contrast, logical authenticity is more from the head, which some might argue is not the source of true authenticity. Nevertheless, for those that strongly believe in who they are, this type of authenticity is the operational software of their lives.
The speaker that fits this type of authenticity suggested to the audience to take a stand on what you believe in – and don’t waver from it.
His authenticity comes from a place that says – this is who I am and you aren’t going to change me. It’s actually pretty good advice if you want to carve out a unique identity or brand that will get you hired more frequently.
Whether the source of your authenticity is from the heart or the head, they both strengthen your identity and alignment with your ideal clients or customers.
#3 – Practical Authenticity
When you combine emotional and logical authenticity you get a hybrid. While it would be easy to view this as being inauthentic, it is arguably the most common form of authenticity – for very significant reasons.
To illustrate this with an example, let’s look at it from the standpoint of a professional speaker.
Not every audience will be comfortable with all-out authenticity that comes from the heart, especially if that audience is predominantly male.
So, as a practical matter, it may be necessary to dial things back a bit to respect the group and the circumstances that are presently before you.
As the speaker who uses this approach noted, when he is on stage he plays a character that is very much the same as the original – but nevertheless different.
The difference is customizing his authenticity for each individual audience – while respecting the degree of authenticity that they are capable of receiving.
As Chris Brogan noted in his blog today, authenticity comes down to helping. That’s what practical authenticity is all about.
Professional speakers get hired to help their audiences, and so do you.
However you view and approach it, you have to agree that authenticity is not about you.
Authenticity is about the outcomes that you can achieve with your audience – this includes your friends, colleagues, advocates, customers, and clients.
Authenticity isn’t easy – but it works.
How about you? What does authenticity mean to you?
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Until tomorrow, Jeff