• Wisal Abbas

Authenticity, the path to effective communication

What is “Authentic Communication”?

Before clarifying what is meant by authentic communication, let us first agree that communication refers to any act of exchanging information via written, verbal, and nonverbal means. Authentic communication simply means being yourself, which is a key aspect in connecting with your audience. Authenticity makes what you write and say relevant to their reality.



Authentic Speaker

Carmine Gallo, the author of “Talk like TED”, analyzed more than 500 TED Talks and interviewed several TED speakers. He discovered that the most effective TED presentations have 3 common characteristics:

1. Emotional

2. Novel

3. Memorable

Being authentic is a first step towards emotional, novel, and memorable speeches or presentations. Authentic speakers are true to themselves, passionate about their topics, and confident, and thus trustful. The audience gets emotionally engaged with a trustful speaker. And because authentic speakers are passionate about their topic, they are more likely to produce novel and memorable presentations.

(Why emotional speeches are more effective? I’ll post this soon).


Authentic Writer

Possess an authentic voice (i.e. style) in writing in a way that makes the readers feel that you are talking to them directly, a voice that makes you stand out from the crowd. Authentic writers are honest and true to themselves, thus produce more effective scripts [1].

I need to clarify here that this is not only relevant to creative writings. In fact, you can have an authentic voice in formal writings as well. Authentic writers always write with audience in mind, and thus engage their audience. This ultimately improves the process of reading and reviewing. So, if you are a student and you are submitting your work (essay, thesis, case study, etc) along with many other students, standing out with an authentic voice is a great favor you do for the person marking your work, and of course for yourself!


“Be Natural, but improve your natural gifts”[2]

Authenticity requires holding on to the characteristics that make you unique. So, you need to identify your special characteristics, practise them, improve them.

Practise writing to develop your skills and gain new ones. Seek for assistance from experts. Attend creative writing workshops even if you have no intentions to be a fictionist. Get exposed to different writing styles. Then, create your own.

Prior to your presentations, practise in front of a mirror, or video yourself. Examine the flaws in your body language, your voice tone, and face expressions. The truth is that being natural is not always attractive! You need to have a trustful source of feedback.

Finally, be true to yourself. Set your own natural style. Let it be your signature. And remember, authenticity does not necessarily produce award-winning manuscripts or speeches, but will definitely enable you to communicate with influence and impact.

References

· Arnold, K., 2010. Boring to bravo. Greenleaf Book Group.

· Carnegie, D. and Esenwein, J. B. (2005) The Art of Public Speaking. Available at: http://library.umac.mo/ebooks/b17773544.pdf.

· Gallo, C. (2014) Talk like TED: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds. St. Martin’s Press.

[1] https://medium.com/@jeffgoins/7-ways-to-write-authentically-and-effectively-5d63872a44e9 [2] Carnegie, D. and Esenwein, J. B. (2005) The Art of Public Speaking. Available at: http://library.umac.mo/ebooks/b17773544.pdf..