While most of us know that people do business with people they like and trust, very few of us recognize that those two factors, like and trust, can best be communicated in two words; Be Authentic.
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The late comedian George Burns once quipped, “Sincerity is the key to any relationship. Once you can fake that, you’ve got it made.” But it’s extremely difficult to fake sincerity. Human beings have a built in sixth sense that, when we’re paying attention, lets us know when someone is not giving us the full picture. We’re hard wired for it in our Primal Reptilian Brain, and its purpose is to alert us when there’s danger in the environment. IE: Don’t do business with this person!
Who you are comes right across the phone, right across the desk, or if you’re a professional speaker, right out from the podium. You can’t hide it. And if you try, what comes across is insincerity…Not the trait you were hoping to communicate. Here’s what your client, prospect or audience is thinking. “I don’t know who he is, but I know who he’s not, and that’s the person they’re pretending to be.”
I recommend you keep two objectives in mind when giving a speech, conducting a seminar or making any presentation. First, always communicate the benefits you promised to deliver. Your second objective, however, should be to show them who you are. The principle at work here is that the more I get to know you, the more opportunity I have to like and trust you.
Trying to appear like someone you’re not, or posturing, even if it results in some form of leverage, obligation or pressure upon the other person, will never fully develop the trust and likeability needed to conduct business on the highest level you want. On the other hand, getting real, and connecting with others on the level of authenticity and common values, is the quickest way to build trust and allow someone to like you, resulting in more business.
You can develop a meaningful mission by specifically and accurately describing not only what you do and who you do it for, but who you are and what you stand for as well. Show them your passion! Show them your enthusiasm! Show them what you are committed to! People will respect (and even admire) your passion, enthusiasm and commitment, even if it’s not exactly the same as theirs.
And being authentic also works in personal communications too. So whether you are trying to impress an audience, attract a new client or find your soul mate, be authentic! It’s the shortest route to developing long-term, successful relationships.