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Guest Interview: Authenticity in Communication as a PowerSpeaking Trainer

Posted by PowerSpeaking, Inc.

Jun 28, 2017 4:58:40 PM

Genuine self-expression is important for anyone looking to communicate effectively.  Who better to demonstrate this power of authenticity than one of our own personal coaches and PowerSpeaking Trainers, Mitesh Kapadia? We sat down with Mitesh and asked a few questions about authenticity, and why it matters for him.

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PowerSpeaking, Inc: Before we started this interview you described a scenario that

epitomized authenticity. I’d like to take a deeper dive into that scene. It’s 7 AM at a favorite

restaurant and you’re seated comfortably, savoring your favorite meal. As you reach

forward to enjoy the last bite, you tune into the table next to you. A young boy sits laser

focused into his tablet screen. His mother taps his knee, encouraging him to put the device

away as a waiter approaches. Startled, the young boy whines and begs to, “…just finish this

level!” His mother offers to store the device for him as they eat. Begrudgingly, he powers

down and joins her in the meal. As he turns to eat he sees she’s now absorbed in her

cellphone and registers the dissonance, "Wait, you told me to put my iPad away yet you are

using your phone all during breakfast!"

PSI: Mitesh, why did you react strongly to that scene?

Mitesh: When behavior is inconsistent between what we expect someone to do and the actions

they make, there is dissonance. Something doesn’t fit and it is noticed. The credibility of the

mother in this scenario was lost in an instant for her child. These situations often happen, and

speak to the importance of bringing authenticity into every form of communication.

PSI: Thank you…and as a trainer, tell us in your own words:

Why does authenticity matter?

M: When it comes to being an authentic trainer, the key idea is, “It’s not what you say that

matters, it’s how you model the message.” In over a decade of speaking to audiences and

training individuals, I’ve found that being authentic and garnering trust goes a long way in the

training world. It’s the basis for being heard and to have others willing to try new behaviors. My

mantra has always been that people will only listen to whom they trust. Without it, no meaningful

interaction can possibly develop between a trainer and participant. I develop trust with

participants by bringing my ‘most authentic self’ forward.

PSI: It sounds like it's important for you to find authenticity in "why" you live each day.

What does that mean and what does that mean to you?

M: The one thing that I love most about my work is that it aligns well with who I am as a person.

My ‘Why’ is always front and center. Personal empowerment is a theme that runs constantly in my

daily life and being a trainer, provides me with opportunities to help others empower themselves.

Many clients come into workshops feeling like they need a big boost in their communication skills.

From the start of the program, I model every skillset that will come forward in class and the

participants end up subconsciously following my example. If I model gesturing, for example, the

participants begin to practice gesturing without verbal directions. Then magic happens because

unlike the mom in the restaurant, there is no disconnect between what I say and how I model the

message.

PSI: Wow! It sounds like you like participants to be genuine.

How do you encourage others to be authentically themselves?

M: Every human being has a unique personality, which reflects in his or her communication

space as well. As much as I like to equip my clients with the right tools and techniques to be an

effective presenter, I tend to focus more on bringing out their natural style. I strongly believe

that a person who is comfortable with their natural style carries a level of confidence that

makes them shine even brighter when presenting. When I have an opportunity to coach people,

I quickly study their strong points and work throughout the session to accentuate them. I

acknowledge that the majority of what they are doing in their presentations is aligned with how

they are naturally. When a person realizes the goal is not to alter their core personality but to

exemplify their existing traits, it creates an immediate confidence boost.

PSI: OK, but what if you don’t understand your own personal style yet?

M: Early in my career I admired a communications coach who orated really well. After

watching him for some time I decided to imitate him in my presentations. He used to say the

word ‘amazing’ with such passion and energy that it landed powerfully with audiences. I went

around mimicking his tone and gestures thinking it would improve my skills. Until I saw a

recording of me in action! I cringed with horror watching the clip as I realized that it was

butchering my credibility. If a person behaves one way in normal conversation, and then

behaves another way while they are presenting, that disconnect creates distrust among

audiences.

PSI: So you’re saying that maintaining connection to your audience is crucial as a presenter.

What’s one simple way readers can create connection when communicating?

M: An underrated, but highly effective piece of being authentic is to make deliberate eye contact

with audience members. There is evidence to support how human beings are able to decipher

hundreds of different emotional states on a subconscious level just by looking at a person’s face

and eyes. Personally, I’ve found that there is something about the human eye-to-eye connection

that puts people at ease. As a presenter, delivering a full thought to a person while connecting

with the eyes is quite impactful. As an audience member, you feel valued and understood. I

always ask in workshops how it feels to have a one-on-one. Participants are pushed to stop

seeing a presentation as this mighty monologue. Instead, I ask them to see every presentation as

an opportunity to have a short conversation with each and every person in the room. This allows

for the room to feel more ease, ready to engage and bring forward a more authentic presence.

Eye interaction is a necessity to create that authentic connection.

PSI: It sounds like self-expression has a potential to influence and inspire others.

What’s the kind of impact bringing authenticity to communication can have?

M: It’s not too complicated to understand that being authentic is one of the greatest assets you

can have as an influencer. In a world where everyone is trying to be like everybody else, it’s a

breath of fresh air to come across those people who are themselves regardless of where they

are. Strive to be the example of what your truth, message and inner voice are collectively

saying. The more you stay aligned with who you really are, the more you’ll feel liberated and

confident to express yourself without fear.

PSI: Thank you for the thoughtful responses. We agree heartily. Authenticity in self-expression

is for anyone looking to communicate effectively.

Throughout June, we’ve explored authenticity and how it matters for leadership and communication. In July, expect conversation around the importance of Speaking Up.

Download Guest Interview:  Authenticity in Communication as a PowerSpeaking Trainer

Topics: Presentation Skills, How to Lead, Authenticity, Leadership Skills, Management, Leadership Style, Workplace Skills, Communication Skills, Authentic Leadership, Interview, Personal Coach

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