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Give me your authentic sign so that we can move the conversation forward.

The moment we choose to mask our words we lose our authentic self. While a self-protective communication style may work for a while, it clearly limits our own development and that of our relationships.

Good conversations and genuine relationships can evolve when we are ready to drop our masks and leave safe and non-challenging communication behind us. To do so, we need to be connected with our core self and be able to disclose, rather than hide, the different facets of our personality.

Easier said than done

This can be challenging in an "era of pitch and fake", where the competitive spirit honors the winners and the cultural imperative values success and achievement rather than authenticity. members had an inspiring conversation about authentic communicative style the other day, starting off with a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson: “The reason why any one refuses his assent to your opinion, or his aid to your benevolent design, is in you: he refuses to accept you as a bringer of truth, because, though you think you have it, he feels that you have it not. You have not given him the authentic sign.“

What does it mean to "be your authentic self and give the other the authentic sign"? Some thought it meant listening carefully before reacting to (or even trying to convince) the other of our point of view; others said it was considering and learning to understand different cultural codes as well as understanding and respecting the other’s needs. Everyone agreed that dropping our masks takes courage. Often, we feel more comfortable wearing the mask of anger rather than revealing our fear; wearing the people pleaser mask rather than saying “no”; and sometimes even wearing the happy mask is easier than disclosing our disappointment.

Facing the challenge

The challenge probably lies in seizing every opportunity to engage in meaningful dialogue, communicate our core self, and thus allow for professional, personal and communicative growth across commercial and social cultural codes. Accordingly, a first step towards giving the other the authentic sign may be to appreciate the critical moments where we are challenged to connect with our sense of self. Like this, we can start developing new and effective communicative behaviors and set the stage for a more fulfilling professional and personal life.

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