One of the exercises my leadership students like most is the Authentic Voice exercise. I’ve written about it at least four times here, including examples from great masters of speaking in their authentic voice, like Muhammad Ali and Robin Williams.
- Communications skills exercises, part 10: Your Authentic Voice
- Your authentic voice
- The great masters of speaking with authentic voices
- Communications skills exercises, part 10b: another example of voicing your self-talk
Most students in my full course are scared of the exercise before doing it but emerge transformed after a week of practicing it. They find it easier and more natural than they expect once they get it and love it. They find themselves able to say things they never could before, with an authenticity they never did before. They get others to say things they never said before. They feel natural doing it.
You can try too, since the links above tell you what to do, though it benefits from the course’s line of exercises to raise your awareness of your inner monologue before it. People who take the full course get its full benefit.
People find it refreshing because they don’t like inhibiting themselves from speaking their minds but they’re scared of saying something they might regret. My progression of exercises eases them into speaking openly without anxiety by giving many small steps to overcome the anxiety insurmountable for most in one big step. With experience, they realize that the liberation of speaking freely is safer than the protection of constantly filtering everything they say. I speak from experience myself. I’m no Charles Barkley, but I speak a lot more openly than I did years ago and I’m more comfortable doing it.
People find the exercise so transformational because speaking authentically is so rare in our culture. When I ask people for examples of people who speak authentically to add to my list of examples, rarely does anyone come up with anyone.
Think of that.
Think of all the people you see on TV, in movies, online, and so on. Politicians, celebrities, actors, athletes, and so on. Almost no one considers them as authentic speakers. Sure, we like actors’ authenticity, but they’re speaking someone else’s lines. They share their emotions, but that’s only part of them.
We love when someone shares themselves with us wholly, uninhibited, authentically, genuinely. Since nobody does it, when we find someone who does, we value their presence in our lives. Its absence leads us to crave it.
If any place in life lacks authenticity, politics must rank near the top. We expect that our political authorities are lying. We expect that they are saying what will get them elected or what their supporters paid them to say. We expect that they are bought and paid for. We’ve learned to discredit what they say.
So when someone speaks authentically, many people love it and value it like water in the desert. For people who have learned not to care about what politicians say, a voter may look no farther than someone speaking authentically.
People who don’t like Trump attack what they consider poor political skills and experience. Their desire to put him down blinds them to what his supporters find appealing.
As best I can tell, he is speaking authentically, from the hip, unfiltered. I don’t follow him, but I believe he genuinely believes what he says, and I don’t believe many politicians believe what they say. In our environment where almost no one does, to a nation starved for it, what he says or stands for pales in comparison to how he says it or even that he says it at all.
On a personal note, I care about what a politician says, not just how authentically he says it, so there is zero chance I would vote for Trump, so please don’t take this post as any support for him whatsoever.
I just wish more people did my exercises so more people spoke authentically and society wouldn’t get so enamored with anyone who did. Or that people found ways to speak authentically otherwise. I think they’d also enjoy their lives and relationships more, with deeper and more open connections.