About authenticity

About authenticity

When people work on appearing more authentic what they often actually do is become less authentic. Because what they do is to treat the symptoms rather than the cause. For example, they try to work on their body language, their voice, their words to appear more authentic rather than to become more authentic.

What I often observe is that people adapt behaviours that are not theirs. Behaviours that someone told them to use. However, instead of feeling more comfortable on stage, this leads them to feel more stressed because now, there’s so much more to concentrate on: what to do with their hands, how to look at the audience, how to walk the stage, how to pause in between sentences and so much more. Thus, they appear even less authentic.

When you work on becoming authentic rather than appearing authentic, the cause is often quite different. It’s not the body language or the wording you use, but the posture. For example, people become inauthentic when they speak about things they don’t really believe in or use words they don’t really believe in. Unless you’re a professional actor, your body will show signs of uncertainty when you don’t believe in the things you say. That’s what audiences perceive as inauthentic.

The most effective way to become more authentic is to work on what you say. Speak about things you actually care about. Use the words you actually believe in. Work hard to empathise with your audience so that you are confident that what you have to say actually does change things for the better. And, most importantly, care for your audience.

And then, when you say the things you believe in, using words you believe in, observe closely what your body wants to do – and reinforce that. Get rid of what others tell you to do with your body, voice, and words but find the words that are true to yourself and your cause.

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Dr. Michael Gerharz

Dr. Michael Gerharz