Has anyone ever said that to you? I heard it all the time when I was a kid, followed by assurances from my mother that everyone would like me if I could (just be myself). And you know what? She was right! What I’m told over and over again in my travels as a trainer and as I interact through social media is that people love my authenticity. I “show up” as who I am, whether I’m on stage or off. I’m honest about my faults as often as I am about my strengths. And I’ve found that people feel like they know me and can communicate with me because of it. If I mess up, I “name it, claim it, build a bridge, and get over it.”
The other thing I consciously do, which I believe assures people of my authenticity, is so simple it’s almost crazy. I ask questions and, more importantly, I listen. That’s it.
One of the keys to authenticity is realizing that sometimes (believe it or not), it’s not about you. You see, as members of the human race, whether we admit it to ourselves or not, we think it’s all about us. Especially if you’re enthusiastic about your company and its products and all it has done for you, sharing that from your perspective is natural. The problem with that is, the person you’re talking to wants it to be about them!
As a direct seller, your most important job is building relationships. You do that through conversation and the best way to build a strong, positive relationship with another person is through supportive communication (which means they feel important and heard).
So why not make the conversation about them? Shift your focus to curiosity and away from asking for anything. If you’re curious, you’re bound to ask questions, which will lead the person with whom you’re talking to share.
And when you’re curious, when you make it all about them, your authenticity shines through. It’s impossible to be curious and listen to someone else if you’re not also being authentic. And believe me when I tell you, people can tell the difference between being truly listened to and talking to someone who’s just marking time waiting for their turn to talk. You know you can tell the difference.
When you shift your thinking to this perspective and you learn to authentically listen, you’ll find you magically begin to get everything you need. It’s a truly incredible phenomenon.
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