The Genuine Article

By: Lisa Marie Koebcke

This topic is one of my core foundations of my personal brand. As you can see from my Pulse Group description, I am “The Straight Shooter”. I’ve been told that one of my best, and one of my worst, qualities is that I don’t always say what people want to hear. But after the band aid gets ripped off, they appreciate the honesty and genuine thoughts I possess.

Being genuine is not something you should have to work at; everyone is genuine in their own way. However, carrying that genuine trait into business is something that many people have trouble doing. It’s a dog eat dog world, and some people feel that being genuine compromises their guard against what’s out there. Of course they have no problem being themselves in front of friends and family, but in the business world they feel that being themselves leaves them vulnerable.

But the reality is quite the opposite: it pays to be genuine, both personally and financially. It can lead to stronger customer relationships and business growth as well a sense of personal fulfillment by not having to put on airs. This makes you more relatable and approachable, which in turn makes it easier to build relationships with your clients without having to sacrifice your personal brand. You’ve spent a lot of time – and in most cases money – developing your brand, and it is essential to be genuine to promote the message that you’re trying to spread. In turn, this consistency creates a strong business relationship that will retain the customers you worked so hard to get in the first place.

Here are just a few suggestions on the road to being genuine:

  • Don’t Try to Make People Like You Be yourself. Some people will like you and some people won’t, but they will all respect both you and opinions It’s not that you won’t care, just don’t let that get in the way of you doing the right thing.
  • Don’t Seek Attention When you speak in a friendly and confident manner, people are much more attentive to and interested in what they have to say than if you try to prove your importance to them. People generally catch on to your attitude quickly and are more attracted to the right one.
  • Have an Open Mind No one wants to have a conversation with someone who has already formed an opinion and is not willing to listen. In order to genuinely care about someone, it helps to actually know a thing or two about them. Don’t be afraid to engage and listen, it makes you much more approachable and interesting.
  • Treat Everyone With Respect This is an easy one that your father probably told you a long time ago, “Treat others the way you would want to be treated.” You may disagree with this vehemently, but understanding the other person’s viewpoint is the first step to getting them to understand yours.
  • Leave Your Ego at the Door You need to practice what you preach, and this will require you to grow thick skin. If someone criticizes your ideas, you can’t take it as a personal attack. Instead, take it as a chance to learn from what they are expressing to you. Use this as an opportunity for personal growth. Be accountable and be professional enough to admit when you have made a mistake, be humble.
  • Address the Elephants in the Room Don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions or deal with harsh situations. We have all been in a meeting where people tip toe around the issue and try to avoid an uncomfortable position. Be calm and direct when addressing the situation or issue that is looming. Being open allows for the group to have a productive dialogue to clear the air.
  • Don’t Brag Genuine people don’t need to brag. They are driven by an inner voice and are comfortable with. Their accomplishments should speak for themselves. They don’t have brag because they’re insecure and worried that if they don’t point out their accomplishments, no one will notice. A genuine person knows how to be confident without being cocky. They know the art of self-promotion without sounding like their LinkedIn profile. They are not frugal with their words but they do speak with a purpose.

Genuine people know who they are. They are not afraid to forge their own paths. They are confident enough to be comfortable in their own skin. They are firmly grounded in reality, and they’re not trying to figure out someone else’s agenda or worrying about their own. They are real, honest, authentic, and consistent in their actions. Being genuine is just like any other skill set you possess, it’s in all of us, you just can’t be afraid to show it.