Keeping it Real (aka Authentic)

au·then·tic  (adjective) : not false or copied; genuine; real

I began considering the value of authenticity to a corporate communicator when I started to  investigate NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) with an objective of understanding how (if) it might improve my influencing skills.

My fear, which the two day introductory course I attended was unable to allay, is that the ability to flex my approach through an improved understanding of how different people receive and interpret information, will make me a more effective but less authentic communicator and I wonder if that is a trade I really want to make?

The introductory session certainly made me more self-aware: I discovered that my literal-mindedness combined with my tinnitus made me a very poor subject in the group hypnosis session on which much of the afternoon of the first day was based.  So, that was a waste of a good portion of Day 1 ……

….or maybe not.

Self awareness lies at the heart of the four principles of NLP (see below) and, at the very least, I’ve realised that my current capacity for self-awareness is more retrospective than real time; i.e. I’m good at understanding why I’ve acted/reacted the way I did, but less good at analysing it as I’m doing it, which severely limits my ability to influence the outcome of that event / interaction.

So, back to my theme of authenticity and the questions arising from the NLP course:

Would heightened, real-time, self-awareness that might lead to a change of approach in order to achieve a desired outcome make me smart, or merely a hypocritical shadow of my former self?

Then there’s the question of rapport – another central tenet of NLP.  Initially the idea of building rapport with people I didn’t respect seemed gross hypocrisy.  However, on hearing the NLP definition of rapport – “mutual openness and responsiveness” – I realised that a lack of respect for another was most probably caused by a lack of understanding of their “map of the world” and mutual openness and responsiveness is the only way to overcome that barrier.

Having only done the introductory session I don’t know whether NLP will enable me to become more flexible while still remaining true to myself, but I do recognise the truth in the saying: “If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always got” which is the best argument I can think of to suggest a more flexible approach might be required.

The Four Principles of NLP

  1. First, know what you want. In any situation, have a clear outcome of what you want to achieve
  2. Be aware and alert. Have sufficient sensory awareness of yourself and others to know when you are moving towards or away from your outcome.
  3. Have sufficient flexibility to be able to keep changing your behaviour until you get your outcome
  4. Take action now!

Recommended reading : “Successful NLP for the results you want” by Jeremy Lazarus


About madeleinekavanagh

Internal comms specialist with a career spanning advertising, car sales and management consulting. My greatest legacy (so far) - my son!
This entry was posted in Business Leadership, Corporate Communications, NLP and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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