It is only later when we reflect on the conversation that we really wish we would have kept our mouth shut because we said something we don’t believe at all. We just said it simply to look cool, knowledgable or feel a part of something.
It is not authentic communication.
We don’t truly know what we believe in, so we just say something for the sake of it.
Finding Your Values
When I was younger, I was so easily swayed by the opinions and advice of others.
If I was asked to help out at an event, join a team or support a cause, I would do it. I didn’t give it a second thought. Even if it was something I wasn’t interested in.
Was I a Yes person? Yes, You could say that 🙂
I hadn’t defined my values.
I was doing anything and everything, saying yes to everyone simply because I didn’t know who the real me was.
If I didn’t live by any values, how could I object to anything?
I was a chameleon, a shapeshifter who was confused about who I was and what I wanted.
I was inauthentic. And this was reflecting in the things I said to people. My life was void of authentic communication. One moment I was praising something, and the next I was damning the very same thing.
Authentic Communication And Your Identity
Once I realized this, I started to try and find my identity. I wrote down a list of values that meant something to me.
I read lots of books, listened to podcasts, networked with all kinds of people, all in a bid to find out who I was.
We all go through this process at some time or another. Some of us get lucky and discover our core values when we’re teenagers, while others are still lost and searching well into middle-age.
Heartbreakingly, some of us never discover what or who we really are at all.
The problem with being inauthentic and having no sense of what our values are is that we are inauthentic communicators. This means that we’re presenting distorted versions of ourselves to other people.
The Importance Of Authentic Communication
Authenticity in communication is important for a few reasons.
First, authentic communication helps to establish trust with the other person. If someone doesn’t believe you’re being authentic, they’re not going to trust you.
Trust is fundamental in so many areas of your life, from business to relationships.
Secondly, authentic communication helps us to inspire and influence others.
After all, if people believe that you are being authentic, they are far likelier to listen and take on board what you have to say.
And they are far likelier to act.
Steve Jobs, former chief of Apple, was known to be a great speaker. His speeches were captivating, not only because of the breadth of his ideas but because he was authentic.
People knew that this was a man they could trust and believe in. They knew that if they listened to him and took on board what he was saying, they would win.
Being an authentic communicator like Steve Jobs starts with YOU. You have to know yourself inside out.
But how do you go about doing this? According to an interesting article in the Huffington Post, there are a few ways:
Discover Your 3 Key Values
Limiting oneself to three key values is, of course, wholly abstract, and you’ll no doubt eventually find that you have more than just 3.
But three is a good start; it gives you a platform from which to build your communication around.
Once you learn what your three key values are, every choice you make will be centered around them – and so will everything you say.
Shake Off Your Fear
Sometimes, we walk around wearing masks because we’re scared of revealing our true selves to people.
“They won’t like me for who I really am,” we say sadly.
This is a fear that needs to be shaken off.
Remember, you are not obligated to please anybody. But if you continue living your life as someone else’s ideal, you will be left with a whole heap of regrets later on.
Be Absolutely Honest
When you’re dishonest – even mildly – you lose your sense of self.
Instead of being direct by saying No to people, you hesitate and say “maybe.”
Eventually, you weave such a tangled web that you get trapped.
The worst thing is, nobody else can read you. They don’t know who you are exactly.
Unleash Your Imperfections
People fall in love with flaws.
Perhaps you fell in love with a man who had a stammer, or who had no common sense, or who was clumsy.
Although he hated these flaws, you loved them.
Imperfections are endearing, but we try so hard to hide our own.
Accepting yourself for everything you have is the first step towards ruling authentic communication.
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