No matter where I go these days, I read and hear the word “authenticity.” It’s one of the big keywords circulating everywhere, but what’s it all about and how can it help your business?
It’s hardly news that the world is changing, but there is an element of that change that we should take a closer look at. Generational trends and beliefs identify entire generations. For the Baby Boomers and most of Generation X, it has been about making it to the top. Much of our drive has been about money and success. Media and movies celebrated consumption and told how to get to the top fast, get the corner office, drive big cars, and buy even bigger houses. The more you had, the better. Remember the iconic film Wall Street, featuring ruthless stockbrokers and expensive interior decorators? There was no such thing as too much. Your only worth was how much you made and what you had been able to amass in terms of career status and money.
These ideas no longer drive most people. Wall Street itself has changed as this article points out. http://goo.gl/qHlEb. Our taste in cars has also changed. Once a symbol of toughness, the gas-guzzling Hummer is now passé and we favor environmentally and cost-conscious models like the Prius. There has been a major shift changing the way we act and how we see the world and do business with each other. Let’s look at what that shift is and how it affects the way you need to communicate, work and portray who you are to your clients.
Who you really are, and what you care about in life, is the crux of authenticity. In business today, clients want to get a sense of you and know what makes you tick so they can assess whether they can trust you as a person. They don’t want to see a video that features just pretty things, or a brochure of yet another consultant who promises increased revenue. Clients these days want to do business with someone who shares the same core values that they have. This is what you need to show and it is how you find your clients.
Clients want to know that you are real—and authentic. Social media allows us to show the core of who we are and make it transparent for everyone who follows us on Facebook and Twitter. Remember to watch your language and what you post, because I assure you, people check up on you.
Try These Tips
* Find out what makes you special. Make a list of all the things you do well, everything you like about yourself.
* Participate in social media and engage your audience. Be smart about what you post Reveals things that people will like about you; your love of animals, your connection to your community, to nature, the visits to your parents, and cooking great foods.
* Show the cracks in your armor. You are human. Some things just don’t work for you. Stop trying too hard to be everything to everyone. An occasional meltdown allows people to help you and to see that you’re a real person with real feelings.
* Stop fighting trends. Transparency has arrive and it is key! If your clients think you are holding something back, they won’t feel comfortable working with you.
Why should you do all this? Because a new generation is coming into power. Generation Y is climbing to the helm and the so-called lost generation is not far behind. Funny thing is, they don’t think they’re lost. They are smart and they learn with lightening speed. They understand the importance of community and they know in an instant if you are real or fake. If you want to sell your product or service, you need to appeal to them.
Beate, thank you very much for posting this article. Your tips aren’t just true in business, they are also true in daily life. I think we all need to learn to be ourselves with everybody we’re with, and sometimes that means training ourselves to not be afraid to show that we’re vulnerable. There is also something else that tends to occur in business. For people who aren’t working for themselves- who aren’t running their own businesses, employers do want to see what kind of person you are. However, this openness can get you in trouble if you reveal something that makes you look weak. In this instance, you could get in trouble with your boss, and maybe even lose your job. What advice would you give people who want to be authentic, yet are concerned that exposing their humanness or vulnerabilities will cause them to get in trouble with the boss?