“I heard you did a great job connecting with the audience and got all choked up with your acceptance speech for the Canadian Speaking Hall of Fame,” said my friend Victoria.
“Yep, when I DO authentic, it works every time,” I said with a chuckle.
I was kidding about ‘doing’ authentic, of course. What immediately connected with the audience was ‘being’ authentic.
The fact was my introducer, Warren Evans, brought me to the stage with “Welcome home Vince.” I was emotional about coming home to Canada with this kind of honor.
I blubbered for a bit, gained composure and then gave an acceptance speech. The single comment I received after was, “I loved your speech. It was you. It was real.” The speech wasn’t scripted. I had three general ideas I wanted to get across and I made it up from there.
If you are going to give a speech, pitch a product, ask for a date or convince a teenager of something then the authentic approach is the fast way to connect. Authenticity is truly one of the most endearing qualities in people. And whom do you buy from? Someone thinking of what they should say or someone tells their truth.
Think about it. When you meet someone real. Someone who is being truly authentic; How attractive is this quality?
That’s the wacky thing about sales actually. And before you say you’re not in sales, remember the quote. “If your lips are moving, chances are you’re selling something. So make it good.” Making it “good” is simple and tricky all at once.
Think about it. If you’re selling something really important you probably want to put your best foot forward. You will likely be on your best behavior and be extremely conscious of saying the right things in the right way. In other words, you don’t want to show any vulnerability. You assume that if you show any signs of weakness or chinks in your armor you will loose the sale.
But as Shakespeare once said, “Therein lies the rub.”
Think of people you feel most connected to. Have they shown you their vulnerability and authentic selves? YES! Now, in a sale, whom do you buy from? Someone you feel connected to or someone where there is no connection? You buy from people you connect with.
So, here you are spending all this time hiding parts of your personality that has the net effect of disconnection. By trying to speed up a sale by doing everything right, we are slowing it down by being less vulnerable or authentic. The flip side is if you are vulnerable and authentic you speed up the sale.
You have everything to gain and little to lose by being authentic. Vulnerability is not that old Budweiser commercial where you break down crying while saying, “I love you man!” Vulnerability is a state of mind. It is a clear signal to your prospect or person you are talking to with, “This is who I am. This is real. I’m not hiding anything.”
If you’re new to a situation, then be honest. If you’re unsure of an answer, admit it. If you disagree, beg to disagree. If you messed up, say sorry, skip the excuses and move on. If you think you have spinach in your teeth, come out and say it, “Do I have spinach in my teeth?” You get the picture. If it is authentic and honest you are vulnerable in a very good way. This will take you further and faster. People appreciate that in the Age of Speed.
Recently I spoke to a large franchise and the message the organizers kept hitting home was how “important the client experience is.” The new approach they would take is to listen to the client and give a specialized experience. Not a “by the book” agenda. They wanted the client to feel that it was a real, authentic encounter.
What struck me funny was how scripted the entire event was. They had every single executive speech on a teleprompter. The underlying message I felt while listening was incongruent. The leaders offered advice they weren’t truly demonstrating.
How much different would the audience’s experience be if the VP’s were trusted to deliver a few key points from an extemporaneous approach? How difficult would it be for the executive s to give up control of the exact outcome?
When it’s your turn to speak to one person or a room full of people stand back from trying to be perfect and decide to be you. Knock your script down to key touch points and trust that you authentic self is more than enough.
Be authentic. It’s the fastest way to connect and it works every time.