Chapter 12

Being Authentic

This above all: To thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.


In the physical world, we can usually tell when someone is lying to us (or at least not being entirely truthful). Why? They give their true intentions away through unintended body movements. In their book Spy the Lie, three CIA veterans, Philip Houston, Michael Floyd, and Susan Carnicero, explain some of the ways that people give away that they are not telling the truth.

There are also plenty of nonverbal cues to lying, though the authors say that averting eye contact, often thought to signify evasiveness, isn’t one of them, since many of us look away during conversations. More telling: hiding the mouth or eyes, throat-clearing or swallowing, biting or licking the lips, and what the authors call “anchor point movement,” shifting weight and position around the body at rest as a way to reduce anxiety, like fidgeting in a chair.1

Ultimately, lying or trying to convince audiences with less than truthful approaches undermines an organization’s authenticity. Audiences engaging with us look for authenticity. It builds trust and helps them move through the strengthening stages of relationship development. According to James H. Gilmore and B. Joseph Pine II in their book Authenticity, “In industry after industry, in customer after customer, authenticity has overtaken quality as the prevailing purchasing criterion, just as quality ...

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