Authenticity in Communication - what does it mean?
We all know it, perhaps with some minor variations: words are responsible for up to 7% of our communication's effect. The rest is a combination of non-verbal elements.
These ratio’s are based upon Noam Chomsky’s survey dated back in the 50’s. Still I find it difficult to believe in it. Can someone just say whatever he/she wants, regardless of the message, but with the right posture and the right tone of voice, and just get through with it?!
Or perhaps has the word communication changed through time? And if so: do we want to change it back? And if so: HOW?
We live in a world constructed by words - more and more, I believe. We read them on WhatsApp messages and in blogs, we google them in our browser, we read them in ads, books and Facebook posts. Words determine largely how we organize the reality around us: a cow is not a dog, right is not left, a table is not a bed, right is not wrong. Throughout our life we learn language and its nuances: we learn that Sweden is not Finland. This way we build a model of the world around us: $50 is not $500, a car is not a motorcycle, Renault is not Toyota. All are in essence ways of classifying and dividing things.
Yet I believe that there is another way of perceiving and shaping reality. A non-verbal, powerful way, which is all about absolute terms. This is a language in which one can simultaneously search and find, classify and generalize, being very precise and comprehensive at the same time.
Such a language works quickly and more effectively than any other, as it expresses one's own energy at that moment and therefore is completely authentic.
Such language you can find in music making, for which authenticity is crucial. A singer on stage has to find his/her inner voice each time again, in order to portray a message in all its complexity and nuances. The degree of authenticity of a musician is a major factor of success. A good musician has to ask himself each time: Am I really supporting the message I'm telling with all I've got? Am I giving it my full 100%?
You can guess where I'm heading at: this kind of authentic communication is not only needed on stage!
What does it mean to communicatie authentically? To keep it simple and as objective as possible: it means that the words which we use and the non-verbal signs are aligned with one another.
‘How are you doing?.... Have you enjoyed your meal?... Oh that’s too bad!’ – these phrases obviously don’t guarantee authenticity. They may be authentic, but that’s up to diverse factors which we can classify as non-verbal. Words alone are not enough.
Authenticity in communication is a powerful stuff! Embracing authentic communication means that you are aligned with your inner self and try to bring that out. You use a language in which you say exactly what you mean, the way you mean it, thus making sure that the message comes across.
How beautiful and how powerful it can be, for example, during a presentation, a team meeting or a get-together with friends and family to, once and for all, hear an authentic message?