Posts Tagged ‘authenticity’

A lesson in public speaking

Monday, August 31st, 2009

I went to a Jewish wedding yesterday and it was very different in many ways from the weddings I’m used to, both Christian and civil.  Of course there were lots of common elements too, but the one that really struck me yesterday was the speeches.  There were many more than usual; the best man, the groom, the bride, the bride’s brother, the groom’s daughter all spoke.  They would have won no prizes at Toast Masters or any public speaking course, but all were memorable and moving for one very simple reason, they all spoke from the heart. 

There is much importance attached to,and training for, public speaking and you can certainly improve your technique, but there is absolutely no substitute for saying what you mean and letting your true feelings show.  We were moved to tears and laughter by these people sharing their feelings and hopes for the bride and groom.

Like they say, “When you can fake sincerity, you’ve made it!”;in the meantime, why not take the huge risk of saying what you want and what you feel…?

I’d be interested to hear about your experiences of doing this kind of thing

My Twitter lessons .. No 6 (what are you Twittering on about?!)

Saturday, June 20th, 2009

I seem to remember my mother saying “What are you twittering on about?” when I was young and she was harassed.  This usually happened when I was gabbling away nineteen to the dozen.  Too much noise and not enough information!  That kind of sums up my Twitter dilemma.  I’m finding it hard to contact / spot / engage the real person amidst the snow storm of noise that scrolls down my screen. 

Occasionally something real happens and and it is like a little ray of sunshine breaking through the clouds.  I’m sure many of the people I’m connected with are well intentioned, intelligent even interesting folks, but it isn’t that easy to find that much evidence of it in their outpourings. 

If you are wondering what to say in answer to the perennial question   “What are you doing?” here is what I’d be interested in seeing:-

  • Something that lets me see who you are
  • Something that shows me you know what you are talking about
  • Something that amuses me, engages me, entertains me
  • Something that helps me
  • Something that educates me

What I don’t want is:-

  • Any offers to get thousands of followers
  • You to sell to me
  • Free offers that are as useful as McDonalds happy meal toys

I’ll allow others to judge how well I’m managing to find this balance, but I got a lovely compliment yesterday from someone whose opinion I value that suggested I’m making progress.

I’d love to hear what you think makes a successful tweet.

You can follow me on @RichardDerwentC

A Studio visit – the real thing?

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

Today I visited Shepperton Studios with my son, who is interested in moving into special effects.  We met someone who made a living creating animatronics creatures and lifelike corpses.  They make things like Kryton’s head in Red Dwarf.  They can take a pile of metal and wires, add some silicon and hair and suddenly you have an almost real panda’s head.  They study how the human body works and devise tricks to make the viewer see a convincing facsimile.

I think it is sad that this rather reminds me of a number of people I have met who put on the most convincing face and yet it is no more real that the panda’s was.  I’d like to think we are moving closer and closer to a world that actually values authenticity and doesn’t see it as naivety.  I have three children about to enter the world of  work, I’d love it to be a place where people wore their real faces.  Where your face doesn’t have to fit to be successful.

“He who trims himself to suit everyone will soon whittle himself away.”  Raymond Hull

“We are so accustomed to disguise ourselves to others that in the end we become disguised to ourselves.”  François Duc de La Rochefoucauld


Heart and Soul

Monday, April 20th, 2009

I was listening to Susan Boyle, a very ordinary looking 47 year old lady with an extraordinary voice today.  I then clicked another link and heard another extraordinary clip.  Here is Paul, living his dream to sing opera.  It is absolutely fascinating to watch the reactions of the audience and the judges.  As he gives himself over to the magic of the music, he casts a spell over them; we see people moved to tears, smiles and applause. 

When you show yourself  to others, without defence or pretensions, saying, in effect, “This is me.” something very special happens.  It takes huge courage to do this in a world where we are taught that to get ahead we have to ‘play the game’, to pretend and hide our true feelings.  There is a whole new field about about the importance of authenticity in leadership, but I would argue this is the challenge for all of us.

Maybe today is your day to stand and be seen. to belt it out, heart and soul and see what happens?

“Give me love, give me peace on earth, give me light, give me life, keep me free from birth, give me hope, help me cope, with this heavy load, trying to, touch and reach you with, heart and soul”   George Harrison

“Every single life only becomes great when the individual sets upon a goal or goals which they really believe in, which they can really commit themselves to, which they can put their whole heart and soul into.”    Brian Tracy


Monkeys have a sense of morality

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

Frans de Waal, a scientist from Emory University in Georgia has discovered that monkeys and apes have an innate sense of fairness, are prepared to help one another and will do so even when there is no apparent reward.  It is a fascinating study.  It is important because it contradicts previous ideas that morality was solely a human preserve, that it was, in fact, a defining characteristic.

I blogged the other day about the importance of values in corporate decision making.  Our values as individuals have a key function in helping guide our actions.  Unfortunately, if we don’t feel able to act according to our own values this can lead to stress.  It is unfortunate at a personal level, but if one has a general misalignment between the values of the team and business then this leads not only to stress but also to resistance.

If even our primitive cousins have a sense of fair play, then how much more important is it that leaders actions are perceived as fair?  If a decision is at risk of being seen as ‘unfair’ then it is crucial that the leader takes the time to communicate what underpins it so that people can understand his/her rationale.

“I know only that what is moral is what you feel good after and what is immoral is what you feel bad after.”   Ernest Hemingway

“Moral excellence comes about as a result of habit. We become just by doing just acts, temperate by doing temperate acts, brave by doing brave acts.”    Aristotle