There are many different levels of communication that go beyond the meaning of the specific words selected in any conversation or to deliver the message. In a world where messaging is reduced to analytics, striving to become a more authentic communicator may seem to go against the grain.
Authentic communication is a way to express your ideas, thoughts, and message in a way that is true to yourself but also respects the intended audience. Authentic communication includes expressing opinions or information that may be difficult in a way that opens up the possibility of creating a solution rather than shutting down the conversation. It is not about using the latest buzzwords or jargon. Rather, it is learning to communicate in a way that respects the speaker and the listener.
There are characteristics or areas of focus any speaker can use to build authentic communication. These are strategies or techniques that can be practiced and improved upon with time and effort.
A Two-Way Process
To get started communicating more authentically, it is vital to see the process as a two-way interaction. Simply giving information and not listening for questions, feedback, or lack of clarity is not communication. It is a monologue at best.
Authentic communicators are interested in what the other person or people have to say. They ask questions and listen to answers, stay open, and they do not become dismissive or defensive. They spark conversation rather than shutting it down.
Speak from the Heart
Being authentic in communication means recognizing the human side of any discussion. It focuses on honest communication, which may mean saying, “I don’t know” or “I will need to check on that,” and then following through.
Being authentic in communication also means recognizing the challenge the other person may be experiencing and empathizing with the situation. This is not just recognizing they have a different point of view but attempting to understand more about that point of view. This helps the communication to come from a place of empathy and not judgment or sympathy.
Walk the Talk
Authentic communication is also about walking the talk or doing what you talk about doing. This is an outward expression of your values, integrity, and commitment to honest, open, and transparent communication. When people match what they say with what they do, and that message is direct and from the heart, it is authentic communication.