Authentic People Talk without Fear
Authentic people talk without fear. They say what they think and act accordingly. But in order to do so, they have to know how, when, to whom, and why they do it. They have to master personal space and tone of voice. In short, they have to have social skills.
Social skills are much more than the expression of opinions. They’re used to interact with others effectively and satisfactorily. They’re our way of presenting ourselves to the world, our social ID card if you will. They reveal our essence as human beings. Therefore, they’re not just important for being authentic people, but also for being psychologically healthy and relating to our environment.
Authentic people know how to listen
Authentic people think before they speak and listen attentively to the person they’re talking to. They’re empathetic towards the other person when they’re having a conversation. They understand that two people don’t have to share the same opinion, but we all have the right to be heard with the same respect.
Our worst communication issue is that we don’t listen to understand, we listen to respond. Although we often don’t even make the effort to listen to other people.
Knowing how to listen is an art and ability that can be learned. It involves paying attention, responding to what the other person is telling you, respecting their turn to speak, and maintaining proper body language. Here are some keys to being a good conversation partner:
- Maintain open body language. Make eye contact with the person who’s talking and keep your facial expression relaxed. Nod from time to time to show that you’re paying attention. Don’t cross your arms or legs because these small physical barriers can discourage other people from opening up to you.
- Don’t interrupt the other person. It can be tempting to stop the other person from speaking to show that you understand the message or to explain why you think they’re incorrect, but this is very rude. To be polite, bite your tongue until the other person is finished talking.
- Facilitate a dialogue. The most powerful phrase in a conversation is “tell me.” People feel good when you ask relevant questions and listen actively to their responses. This shows the speaker that you’re listening to their words and empathizing with them.
- Allow them to speak. You’re having a dialogue, not a monologue. Involve the other person in the conversation by asking questions or proposing interesting topics to debate about, but never monopolize the conversation.
Authentic people don’t always please others
Authentic people don’t always please others because they know when to say yes and when to say no. They know how to show agreement and disagreement in any situation, and they don’t feel guilty for it. They’ve conquered the social skill known as assertiveness.
Assertiveness is a form of communication that involves defending one’s rights, expressing one’s opinions, and making suggestions in an honest way, without being passive or aggressive. It’s about respecting others, but especially respecting one’s own needs.
It’s an important skill because it can be incredibly comforting to express your true feelings and defend your rights. When you say what you want, regardless of whether you get it or not, you’ll be able to live a happier and more authentic life.
The first step towards being more assertive is recognizing how you feel and what you want to communicate. If you’re sincere and understand that the other person can’t read your mind, nothing you say will be incorrect. That being said, always respect their turn to speak and remember that you’re defending your own truth, not the absolute truth. Remember that you always see from your own point of view, which is just as valid as theirs.
Regarding tone of voice, maintaining a proper tone and refraining from shouting will help reaffirm your opinion. Recognize that shouting doesn’t make you any more right. In fact, it tends to take value away from your message. The same occurs with distance. If you get too close to the other person, you can seem aggressive and this can complicate communication. Respect their personal space.
Social skills are learned
If you want to be an authentic person but you haven’t mastered any of the abilities we mentioned here, don’t worry, because social skills are learned. They’re not innate abilities; they’re acquired through observation and experience.
The first few years of life are fundamental for developing these abilities, but that doesn’t mean that once you’re an adult, you can’t learn them anymore. There are many psychological programs that teach social skills. Most of them combine direct social experiences, imitation, and reinforcement in order to learn them.
So if you want to be an authentic person, but you don’t have these social skills or haven’t fully mastered them, go to a psychologist and follow the steps that we presented in this article, and you’ll finally be able to be an authentic person and talk without fear.