When we come from an authentic, genuine place in ourselves, our efforts to connect with people work to their fullest. Our relationships develop more easily and last longer, and we feel better about the people we’ve brought into our lives and our work.
I’ve spent time coaching students on how to prepare for one of the most fundamental business interactions, the job interview. I remember watching again and again as one of my students, Raj, froze while tackling the task. He had a dry sense of humor and could chat easily in casual conversation, but as soon as we’d start doing a mock interview, his personality would disappear. I tried distracting him away from being self-conscious, but the second he realized I was posing an interview question he became stiff and formal and very, very serious. Even his word choices changed.
What I tried to impress upon him, and what he finally understood, is that there is no right or wrong way to interact with people; there is no one correct way to ‘‘be.’’ What feels right for one person may feel all wrong for another. What matters most is what feels right for you. As soon as Raj started being himself in our mock interviews, he was able to think more flexibly and respond more quickly and just generally become far more engaging.
His likability was coming through.
When you show others that you are likable – yes, even a job interviewer – you show them you’re capable of being authentic. This makes you stand out from the crowd. There’s been such a dichotomy in business that tells people they need to remove their personality from the workplace, but this has changed. We now know that building connections is how to succeed in business, and you can’t form strong bonds without a little authenticity in the mix.