“The most valuable gift you have to offer is yourself.”
Have you ever been around someone with a strong accent? Maybe a “U-per,” a Londoner, or even a Southerner? Of course you have. Now here comes the question of Authenticity: Did you start to pick up their accent after you talked to them for a while? Did you parrot their pronunciation of particular phrases? We've all done it just a little bit. I’m guilty as charged. When I moved to the South six years ago, I found myself going on lots of sales calls outside the metro city limits. Sometimes the people I talked to spoke so slowly that I wanted to complete their sentences for them! For some reason, I felt myself trying to drawl, trying to speak a little slower, and trying to throw in a “y’all” for good measure.
It didn’t work. It was a feigned attempt at acceptance. Not only was I asked, “So, are you from around here?,” I was also caught somewhere between trying to fit in and trying to get my message across effectively. I wasn’t authentic. And I was naïve to think that I had to use certain colloquial words and phrases to be heard.
As it turns out, I performed much better when I let the “You Guys” flow freely. Not only were people more genuinely interested in me, and who I was, they also wanted to know where I was from and what brought me into town. That kind of exchange was the beginning of a real relationship. So the Go-Giver Law of Authenticity goes: It’s always easy to spot a fake. Your audience appreciates the real and truthful so much more. Whether you’re from Buffalo, Britain, Birmingham or the Bahamas, let your freak flag fly and annunciate with pride.