There is a secret to building relationships and connection with people, which lends itself to successful selling. Many do not learn it until later in their career, if at all. The secret to connect with people and build relationships, in business and personal life, is dropping the “facade” and simply being who you are. This is at the very foundation of building your personal brand.
Yes, there is etiquette and importance to the development of a professional demeanor, but people are people. Being authentic is easy, but terrifying to some. To become real or authentic means you must be vulnerable… and you become relaxed with allowing people to experience who you are. Your communication, interaction, and approach need to convey you are genuine, relaxed, caring, and personal.
People buy from people, but unfortunately, we are taught to wear a “mask,” and to prevent people from learning who we really are. This works against us. Wearing your “corporate mask,” makes it difficult for others to determine who you really are and will limit the amount of trust you can create. People, by design, automatically and unconsciously will immediately decide if you are fake. They also quickly assess your drivers, whether you care about them, and if you want to contribute to their success and well-being. In essence, people will quickly figure out if you are phony.
Being authentic is simply, “being comfortable in your own skin.” There are five essential traits to being authentic.
- Authentic people have open minds and a strong sense of fairness. They are motivated to create a “win” for all parties. They do not take advantage of people. They have earned trust and created a record of successful business dealings. They have terrific personal references due to their willingness to seek a fair outcome. They think of others first and are recognized and rewarded for it.
- Authentic people genuinely care about others and treat people with kindness and respect. They listen attentively and seek to understand. They are quick to recognize challenges and take ownership to resolve them. They are not interested in pointing fingers or determining where fault may lie. Instead, they work towards resolution.
- Authentic people “think inward but look outward.” They think deeply and genuinely seek to add value for others. They actively explore new ideas and approaches that can benefit their clients and the people they work with.
- Authentic people are true to themselves. Shakespeare immortalized this in his play Hamlet with the line, “To thine own self be true.” Another way to put it is, “You are what you are.” There is no pretense, no posing, and no deception.
- Authentic people will never compromise their integrity. EVER. They live by a moral and values code where their “word is their bond.” They will walk away from opportunities or people if they believe they might be put in a position to violate their beliefs and standards. They are respected and inspire others through how they demonstrate their integrity.
“People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” – Theodore Roosevelt
Decide now to eliminate the corporate jargon and pretentious “consulting language.” Do away with trite phrases and platitudes that mark you as being less than genuine. Instead, speak or write plainly and share your honest point of view. It is about being human and being real in all your interactions. Be an example and pay attention to the impact you will create. Watch how people change the way they interact with you. Choose to be vulnerable and watch your relationships vastly improve all because you chose to keep it real.
Becoming authentic demands you make the decision to be yourself. Do so despite any fear you may have about how you may be perceived. Reflect on your presence, language, and approach. Review the five essential traits to being authentic and think of ways to make them your own.