Be authentic… or be ignored!
I came across a great article this morning:
I shared it on Facebook and it turned into an interesting discussion amongst several speakers and performers, including one of my oldest and closest friends, Tobias Beckwith. We’ve been working together for almost 25 years and he knows how to get me fired up!
Lots of people talk about the importance of being authentic. We all know it’s important and I like to think we all strive to be authentic. But in our hyper-connected world there are very real dangers for those who avoid being genuine.
“Markets are Conversations”
This is a chapter title from The Cluetrain Manifesto. Believe it or not, this document first hit the internet in 1999… long before Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc. It’s been years since I read the full Manifesto, but my gut tells me that most of it is still valid 15 years later.
People are interested in people. They want to hear your, unique story.
Every day we’re conversing with people across the globe, even though we’ve probably never met them face-to-face. Our businesses are can blossom, or whither away, depending on how well we can connect with like-minded people.
If you want to reach the right people, you need to be able to communicate your vision openly and honestly.
I talk a lot about Filters (note the title of this blog: Wisdom Filter). Now that we’re being constantly bombarded with information, people’s sh*t filters are set very high.
If you’re just regurgitating information, you will be filtered out!
Sadly, I see an even worse trend in magic. As much as I love the art, there are very few performers who have any message at all. That’s why they’re relegated to “shock and awe” status. They might know something you don’t… but if the only unique information being conveyed is the trick’s secret, a Google search will almost always turn up the answer within seconds.
As a counter-example, consider Penn & Teller. Even if you disagree with their perspective (or delivery), they have an authentic message. That’s one of the main reasons they remain popular after almost 40 years on the stage.
You can’t hide
Several years ago I reconnected with one of my childhood friends. At that point, I was not blogging or involved in any social media. I was just keeping my head down and running my software company.
One of the first things he said to me was: “You’ve got a lot going on!”
“How do you know that?”
“I Googled you.”
Huh? I’m on Goggle?
You have to understand that, until recently, my company only built custom, high-end software for other businesses. Strictly B2B. There was no publicity or marketing. They hired us. We delivered. End of transaction.
But he was right… the amount of information I found on myself was shocking.
We live in a highly-connected world and people love to share stories. Even if you’re not posting, someone is talking about you.
If your message is authentic and comes from a place of integrity, people will naturally want to hear what you have to say.
If you provide real value, you will be rewarded.
However, if you’re speaking from behind a facade, people will find out (sooner rather than later).
“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”
— Warren Buffet
The good news: it’s easy to be authentic
I want to leave this topic on a positive note.
We all have unique experiences and wisdom. We all have important messages to share with others. You have the material.
The only other ingredient you need is the courage to share your story!