Are charisma and authenticity mutually exclusive? I don’t think so!
The most authentic speakers I have seen and experienced are also the most charismatic. Often authenticity is dismissed, and yet this means that we are not paying attention to the affect it has upon people and in the world. We’ve talked before about establishing trust. Authenticity is essential to create long-term relationships of trust.
The Four Endowments Of A Human
Every human has four endowments – self-awareness, conscience, independent will and creative imagination. These give us the ultimate human freedom… The power to choose, to respond, to change and to act.
- Self-awareness informs and defines us.
- Conscience creates boundaries of behavior.
- Independent will provides the opportunity to learn and grow.
- Creative imagination allows us to see what otherwise would be in darkness.
Authenticity In Brand Creation
These endowments form and inform our authenticity. Our authenticity becomes in effect our brand, or at least the basis for a strong one.
Often, branding is thought of as the business of building an “image.” However…
In my opinion, the heart and soul of what true branding is all about runs much deeper – authenticity. That “image” – whether personal, or corporate – is just the clothing your brand wears, but it has to be congruent with who you really are. Your brand demonstrates the authenticity of your company, its DNA… the unique combination of people and products and services that separates and differentiates you from everyone else on the planet.
Consumers Recognize Authentic Brands
I love authentic brands. I love great companies, and the remarkable people who make those companies great. And I believe the opportunity to be one of those great brands is available to any business and any leader. To me, it is simple: a combination of clarity, consistency, authenticity and meaning.
The result, a brand that makes an emotional connection, utilizes symbolism, stories, and all five senses. A brand that is remarkable. Not because it LOOKS that way, but because it IS that way – authentically.
Every Element Of Your Presentation Communicates
Whether you respond to an email, prepare bid materials, or do a formal presentation with slides and handouts, every element is communicating your brand. It may not be doing that well. It may not be doing that authentically. But each piece of material and communication you make with your client is creating an image in their minds of your trustworthiness, consistency and authenticity.
That’s why small details like consistency of fonts, colors, and images in presentation materials are so important to professional firms. They’re usually codified internally in a style sheet, and there’s a reason. Subliminally, they’re communicating to the client that you’re focused, in control and detail oriented. They communicate that you know who you are and what you stand for, and present yourself and your firm professionally.
What’s An Authentic Brand?
Think of the origin of the word brand for a moment. A brand was a unique mark burnt in the hide of range cattle, symbolizing ownership. For today’s businesses, your brand is who you are telling the world you are. Before you stand up to present your business, make sure you have three words in your mind that authentically represent your organization. Are you creative? Reliable? Innovative? Skilled? Intelligent? Brave? Does everyone who presents for your organization know the core values of the organization that led to your brand?
When they understand these values and how your brand communicates them, they too can take ownership and present with authenticity and genuine charisma.