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Friday, April 5, 2013

Communication and authenticity

As a day job, I am a training program development specialist and I also train people on soft skills: stress management, change management, communication, conflict resolution, team work and so on... This is the best part of my job!!!

I am currently giving a verbal and non-verbal communication courses to a group of distribution center associates (otherwise known as "warehouse guys")... and we are having very interesting discussions....

On today's course, one of my favorite student asked me:  Can the way you dress influence you communication?

VERY smart question... and not simple at all...

The answer is yes and no....  let me explain...

In order for communication to happens, there need to be a sender, a message and a receiver.

Now, the receiver is just as important as the sender in any message been sent!

The way the sender is dressed surely influence the way he's perceived by his receiver...  and hence the "understanding" or "interpretation" of the message.  Unfortunately, people are quick to judge a book cover without actually reading the content....   our clothes are like book covers... and our message the content! 
And because the first impression is ever lasting, or almost, the way we dress do influence our communication.... 

However, I know that unlike a book, we are not waiting to be opened and read passively....  we deliver the message...  so if we have a strong message, strong personalities... we can overcome the first impression and "force" people to forget the container and go with the content.  This, of course, is not THAT easy...   you need to be quite assertive and believe in yourself and your message!  And it will not always work...  but when it does the outcome will be amazing because you will know people "listened" for who you are and not what you look like.  This is what REALLY matters!

I would like to mention that I do NOT suggest you dress "like someone else"...  I truly believe in being authentic...  I am a strong advocate of being one with your heart, your soul and you mind and to actually show that unity and uniqueness to others...  and by that I mean, what you say, what you do and how you dress should reflect who you TRULY are...  at ALL times!!!  I firmly believe that people who play an act to fit in a role have much to loose in the end... even if only themselves!

All that being said, in order to be authentic, you need to know who you are...  and in order to be it all the time, you need to be in the right environment at home AND at work... and most people are not at ease in one of those environment! It's "easy" to play a role, pretend to be someone we are not without even realizing it... because we do not take time to figure out who we are and what we want!

Once that is done (once you figured out who you are and what you want), change will manifest itself in a weird way to bring you where you belong...  and therefore you'll be able to BE yourself at all times... the way you think, the way you act will be united... this will bring peace... this will bring happiness....  maybe not in a way you would have thought off at first... maybe not the way you initially planned it...  but surely MUCH better!!!!

p.s. have you ever seen the dalai-lama where a suit?  do you not respect him?  do people ignore his saying because he's not dress in a certain way?
When you are authentic, you message will be stong and in tune with what you firmly believe and people will respect You...  for who you are!

love and peace,

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