Faking authenticity

Authenticity is always in the eye of the beholder. When our audience experiences what we say to be in sync with how we say it, they perceive us as being authentic.

And it turns out that audiences are quite good at it. Humans are super good at pinpointing when something about the way a person speaks feels “not quite right”.

Often, it’s just subconscious. Few can actually pinpoint where this feeling comes from. But, the gut feeling is there. We have a good instinct when someone isn’t quite honest. Or when they don’t really believe in what they say themselves.

A lot of confusion stems from the assumption that we could easily fix that by working on our body language or improving our voice.

We can. But not easily.

Just look at all the bad acting on TV. This is by people who have worked hard for many years to learn the craft of acting. And they are still not at a level where we find them convincing.

Now, just imagine the level of “authenticity cheating” that you can achieve by taking a few lessons on body language or reading a couple of books on it.

It’s not going to work.

A much better approach than to work on appearing more authentic is to work on becoming authentic. And that doesn’t start with how you speak and move but with what you say.

Saying words we believe in about the things we believe in strips us from the need of faking it. It’s much better to work on the real thing than to try and fake it. Work on the story you tell and make sure that you believe it yourself. Not only that. Make sure that you’re totally committed to it.

Because then it’s not about faking it. But about amplifying what your body wants to do anyway. It’s not about doing things our body doesn’t want to do in order to appear as something we’re not. But about doing what’s right and working to reinforce it.

Authenticity starts with the story we tell.

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Dr. Michael Gerharz

Dr. Michael Gerharz


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