When speaking in a group or in a meeting, one of the most important qualities you can bring is authenticity. Being authentic will help you to reach out to your audience and get your message across to them. When they feel that you are true and genuine, they are more prepared to listen to you and understand and accept what you are discussing.
Being able to communicate authentically allows you to create a two-way conversation with your audience where they will understand what you are saying and respect your opinion. Authentic communication is even more important when you are communicating changes or disruption in the organisation or when giving individual feedback. Authenticity is also very important when you are trying to resolve a conflict or disagreement within your organisation.
Sheryl Sandberg in her book Lean In said “Authentic communication is not always easy, but it is the basis for successful relationships at home and real effectiveness at work.” As a trainer in the areas of Giving and Receiving Feedback; Assertive Communication Skills; and Difficult Conversations, authenticity is the cornerstone of all of these communication skills.
Authentic communication is about:
- Being true to yourself and other people, particularly the members of your organisation and the people you are communicating with.
- Being open and honest and not avoiding the difficult conversations, which will encourage your audience to do the same. This leads to successful outcomes.
- Being comfortable to negotiate and say No which will result in you giving your audience an opportunity to consider alternative options that will preferably benefit everyone.
- Being comfortable with giving and receiving honest feedback. Honest feedback will help each member of the organisation to grow individually and professionally.
- Finding your voice and having your say, at the same time ensuring your audience listens to you and respects your belief.
Becoming an Authentic Leader
Learning about authentic communication also helps you become an authentic leader – one who is comfortable to be vulnerable with your team and say, “I don’t have all the answers. Let’s look for the solutions together.” Remember that being a leader doesn’t always mean doing everything for your team. It also means directing and managing your team – encouraging them to participate and working towards achieving your goals.
There are many important roles that authentic communication plays within an organisation. If you want your organisation to continue to grow, you should learn to be an authentic communicator and this will help you to wards becoming an authentic leader.