What is authenticity in writing
Being authentic - what does that actually mean?
Knowing your own strengths, being courageous and, if in doubt, sometimes provoking: communication and media trainer Kathrin Adamski knows that sometimes it is not that easy to be authentic. And yet: it's worth it. In her post she explains why. And gives tips on how to be more authentic and to be more with yourself.
"Image is what you need to make others think that you are who you want to be." (Frank-Markus Barwasser)
With this pointed quote, the German journalist and cabaret artist Frank-Markus Barwasser sums up one of the biggest communication mistakes: people want to appear different than they really are.
To a certain extent, each of us has a “semblance” that he or she presents to the outside world. This is normal, sometimes even a privacy protection. And of course there are many situations in which it is “expected” that you stick to rules and conventions and not act like at home in your own four walls, in your own personal environment.
But many people try to develop “love”, “esteem”, “recognition” and “respect” of others in public by consciously behaving like another person. You imitate the clothing style and haircut of a role model or adopt his choice of words or language style. Or they practice gestures that they have observed in another person and that they find successful. And they like to say in public what others want to hear, but not what they think and feel themselves. They rarely speak plain language and water down their statements in order not to offend with an opinion and to alienate as few listeners as possible through a clear positioning. In short: these people are not themselves. They are not authentic. And the other person feels that in communication - regardless of whether it is medial or personal.
But how does authenticity actually come about?
One can argue about this with psychologists and scientists. Scouring over two million entries on the Internet or just doing the whole thing in a practical way? Authenticity arises when feeling, thinking, speaking and acting all come from the same original image. So, if you allow what you feel as thoughts, say it exactly as you feel and think and then “act” in accordance with your statement. That sounds very simple, but it is quite complex. Especially when you are not in your own four walls and unobserved, but when you are in public and are confronted with the expectations, opinions and ideas of other people. And often for political or legal reasons it is not possible for you to say exactly what you think, feel. But there are still a few practical tips that make an appearance more authentic and help you to be more with yourself and more “yourself”.
"What others think of you is none of your business."
Translated means: Don't worry about what's going on in the minds of others. There are so many minds in this world and each mind thinks differently. You can never please everyone, and you will never convince everyone of you. Let the others have their heads and thoughts and focus on what YOU want to say and how YOU want to be. By the way, you're already busy with that.
So if, for example, you are in a management position and it is common among these executives to drive to the office in large cars of well-known brands, but environmental protection and sportiness are more important to you, then you can continue to ride your bike to work. And don't think about what your colleagues think of you now.
"Be yourself, there are already enough others!"
Translated means: Find out what defines you as a person, what is special about you, where you are different from others. Make these elements a trademark in communication and in your appearance. If you never wear a suit or if flies are just annoying insects, then don't wear either of them to a public appearance. If you are a passionate climber, then do not use language images from painting, but create bridges from your personal experience on the mountain. And if you have a clear opinion of your own, then stand by it. Share this opinion and make sure you are heard and understood. Why should you open your mouth when you say something that many others somehow “talk about”. Be brave and, if in doubt, swim against the current if you think that going upstream is the right way.
For example, if you have to give the opening speech at an event, but rhetoric is not one of your favorite disciplines, then stand by it. Just say that you are not a fan of long speeches and open the event with a few words of your own that you cannot read off the paper. Because you are neither Cicero nor Martin Luther King. You are you
"If you don't feel it, you won't chase it" (from Goethe's Faust)
Translated means: only say things to which you have an emotional connection, to which you can find images, values and feelings inside yourself. If you are not convinced of things yourself, then you will not be able to convince others either. Authenticity means that you say what you actually think and feel. You will not be able to convince anyone with logical arguments or a clever choice of words. And you will not be believed just because you display sophisticated rhetoric or pay a communications agency a lot of money to develop a well-sounding message.
When speaking on behalf of a company or an institution, however, it will often happen that you personally don't see everything exactly as you need to communicate it. In this case, it helps that you pick out individual aspects of the topic to which you can say "yes" without reservation. Put these aspects forward in your statement. You put things that you cannot unreservedly affirm further back. This helps to give a first authentic impression and it gives you security.
For example, if you are of the opinion that the new company organization that you should communicate to the workforce is not yet fully developed in one area or another, then do not start trying to sell the new organization with feigned conviction. Instead, emphasize the passages where you can personally stand up for the benefits of the new structure. Use less words and less attention on things that you are not yet in agreement with.
Authenticity lives from the fact that honest feelings, attitudes and values are conveyed. Because whoever says what he feels is talking about inner images. These inner images create a certain posture - perceptible in facial expressions, gestures, posture or voice. You can find more about this in the Media Training workbook in the chapter Lie detector of communication. And it is precisely this inner attitude that your counterpart can "read". And when you find the right words for these inner images and the resulting attitude, you are “yourself” and therefore authentic. The music legend Bob Dylan has put the recipe for authenticity even more beautifully and simply in a nutshell:
"All I can do is be me, whoever that is."
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