I presented my company’s capabilities to a group of county officials earlier this year and one of the asks from the friend who spearheaded this meeting was to share some things about myself.
As I was putting together the presentation with all the typical stuff: case studies, my story, how I partner with clients, the team, our collective experience, why I launched my own agency, which at the time was seven short months ago, and all the other pertinent information…it occurred to me that was not the information that would help them get to know “me.”
Of course I’d planned to incorporate some things about me on the fly and assumed it might come up in small talk before the presentation, but who I am as a person (not a professional) wasn’t necessarily included. Did I credential myself? Sure. But in a world and industry where relationships truly matter and can trump everything, we have to become a little more comfortable showing what makes us who we are, which ultimately demonstrates what it might be like to work with us directly, and much much more.
After all, I figured if I could post a video my daughter took of me lip syncing to an Ariana Grande song to demonstrate my ability to trendjack from Gen Z and not die from embarrassment or humiliation, and in fact get embraced for such an odd, yet bold move…I may actually be on to something.
A former boss once told me early in my career that people hire people. They want to feel chemistry, a connection. I have found that to be true over the years as I’ve made nearly 100 hires and I’ve also learned that when I let people see who I am, in all of my “girl from Detroit” glory,” mixed with my “corner-office business savvy” and “super-committed gymnastics and theater mom” vibe, they see an entire package. They learn what’s important to me and why – and that’s what sticks, allowing genuine relationships to form and grow.
Hence, the image below)which was the the second slide I shared in that presentation.
This, to me, is authenticity. It is a result of having lived 46-years on this planet, racking up enough experience and learning from enough mistakes (mine and those around me) that the only way to be truly unique is to be you. All day, everyday. I certainly gravitate to people who are authentic, who have no agenda or are forthcoming when they do. When we can connect in a way that scratches just beyond the “professional” surface, things start to happen.
I encourage you to join me on this journey. Yours may not involve pop star Ariana Grande, trendjacking from Gen Z or putting pictures of yourself and your family in a PowerPoint and on a major social network, but whatever it is, it will be yours.
People want to know you. I think it’s time you oblige.