You’re Not For Everybody (and that’s ok!)

That stuff you hide from others? Start showing them.

(image c/o the fabulous Gratisography)

People aren’t always committed to listen to what we say if they do not like us. Yet, our job as communicators is not to get everyone to like us. This is impossible, and in fact, could actually make people dislike us for trying.

If an influencer makes people feel small, they will find it hard to influence. Sure, folks may feign interest. If a person has a super-duper interesting bio or is “famous” in some way, some audiences might listen. If you’re just an average Josephine with no power or fancy background— forget it.

The audience is more likely to LISTEN to a person they feel rapport with.

Authenticity is a key component to rapport. Being real. When we reveal our true selves to the audience and do it in a memorable way, the audience is more likely to remember what we said. When a speaker integrates his or her personal and professional life in an interesting fashion, audiences want to listen. Being yourself will increase rapport and listening. A lot of folks call that vulnerability, I do not. Vulnerable implies we have to protect ourselves from something, I say, just BE REAL.

You, the real you, is not for everybody. Real means you will lose people not meant for you. And that just has to be okay, because fake is just not a good long-term strategy.

A young woman in one of my sessions asked me to help her act older and calmer. I asked her why.

She told me she recently applied for a job she didn’t get. The company told her she didn’t land the job because she acted too young and spunky. The wise human resources director instructed her to act more mature at her next interview and she’d have a better chance of being hired.

I refused to help her act older and calmer. That company was the WRONG place for her, obviously. The right company will not hire her if she acts older and calmer. The RIGHT company will not hire her if she acts differently than she really is.

We were able to harness her spunky energy and integrate it into her speaking style. She found her perfect job a few weeks later by simply being the wonderful woman she already is.

This is not just for public speaking. An audience can be one person. I spent too many years trying to be like the people who were teaching me to be different from who I am. True success came when I refused to pretend I was what they wanted me to be.

That stuff you hide from others? Start showing them.

Even though people listen more to those they like, trying to be liked by being different from your true self is never a good idea.

This post is an edited excerpt from her first book, ‘Your Professionalism is Killing You’, copyright Christina Harbridge.

Behavior change company. Before you can change a mind, sell a product or save the world, you must be heard.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store