We have become a society that values harsh truths and authenticity over comforting appearances. The opportunities created by the Internet and digital media have given us windows onto people and organizations that we did before. These windows make it easier to access and scrutinize all kinds of information. People can now find, opine about, or even fabricate “truths” online. More importantly, average people—your customers, employees, and peers—are always on the lookout for truth and authenticity, and, whether consciously or not, they’re running your words and your conduct through those filters.
There are two kinds of transparency: One deals with being open, honest, and forthright with information; the other means being open, honest, and forthright with feelings or reactions. Transparency calls for truth and authenticity in both cases.
When you speak publicly, transparency applies to both your content and your delivery. Are you transparent in words and emotion? Do they match? What does your demeanor suggest about how authentic and trustworthy you are? Are you trying to spin the situation, are you holding back, or are you spilling it all out? And are you acknowledging your feelings? For example, would you say something like, “This situation is emotional for me, so bear with me while I get it all out” or “I wish I could say more, but I can’t at this time” or “I have tough news to share, but I’m going to try and put the best possible light on it so you see the bright side”?
You should. A show of transparency and authenticity builds credibility and trust in ways that are immeasurable.
[Excerpted from Jock Talk: 5 Communication Principles for Leaders as Exemplified by Legends of the Sports World, http://amzn.to/1vkcx]
SmartMouth Founder and Principal Beth Noymer Levine is a Communications Coach who is emerging as one of the country’s leading voices on how to prepare and deliver speeches and presentations that actually work for both the audience and the speaker.
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