This post was written by Hannah Morris, Facilitator and Coach at The Latimer Group.
When we want to define something, such as authentic presence, we often need to define its opposite. So, what is inauthentic presence and why and how is it problematic?
Inauthentic is fake, insincere, not genuine.
When someone’s presence is perceived as inauthentic, people wonder if they are hiding something. It feels like there is a façade covering a protected inner core. It feels like someone is acting, not being.
Where does it come through? A forced smile or laugh, singsong inflection or exaggerated emphasis. It is in moments where what is said, what is shown, and what is meant are clearly not aligned.
This can happen in moments where we become overly focused on style and impression over substance and action. It can happen in moments where we are overly focused on our own needs and views and forget to consider and care about others’. Conversely, it can happen when we lose touch with our own values and priorities because we have become so focused on others’ needs and views. And it can happen when we become so burnt out that everything we do becomes surface acting, which ultimately compounds the burnout.
The best way to combat this phenomenon and maintain the kind of presence that feels authentic – both to us and to those around us – is to create the right balance between introspection and input. Taking frequent opportunities for self-reflection, where we are revisiting the fundamental questions of who we are, what matters to us, and what we hope to achieve, will help us stay grounded in our identity. But it must also be complemented with frequent opportunities to gather and process feedback from everyone around us, considering what they perceive and how we impact them.
As our lives become busier and our worlds, noisier, we will have to build in time and space for these processes to occur. We must proactively protect them for what they are: the key to authentic presence and to finding success and satisfaction in everything else that we do.
Does your team:
– Take too long to make decision?
– Fail to ask for what it wants or needs from you?
– Make things too complicated?
– Deliver unconvincing or disorganized presentations?
– Have new hires who are unprepared to communicate in the workplace?
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