Communicating Authentically

“Polite society teaches us to have better manners [but] how to you make great decisions when no one is telling the truth?” – Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook.

If you watch no other online video today, watch this one.

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6 thoughts on “Communicating Authentically

  1. Sheryl Sandberg’s speech about communicating authentically is geared towards entrepreneurs, but her principles are clearly relevant to everyone, even non-businesspeople.
    We are always taught the importance of constructive feedback, especially growing up playing sports. It’s why we do peer reviews in school, and how we become better players, writers, professionals, and people.
    Some people have trouble giving clear, honest feedback. Her point about how it only gets worse as you manage more employees is something I hadn’t previously considered. I’ve experienced this in my internship this summer: If you get advice from someone Senior, you almost feel that it’s offensive to not take their advice.
    What I took away from this speech, is that you must give feedback, even when uncomfortable. But, your language must be crafted in a way that gives the audience room to give their own opinion.
    We can be polite, while still leading our businesspeople through effective communication of constructive criticism. The people who can do this will be successful in business.

  2. Sheryl Sandberg’s example about authentic communication reminds me of the many my mentors taught me to be confident in what I was saying, and to be willing to share what I had in mind. I find it’s true, that we need some confidence to be able to walk in a room and say “here’s my belief, what do you think?” This leads to Sandberg’s second point. We usually play the victim and are afraid of taking responsibility. When we openly share something, on one hand we give room for others’ authentic response, yet on the other hand, if things don’t turn out, we will have to face it.
    Therefore, I think before we can get to Sandberg’s valuable communication technique, we must be confident enough in ourselves.

  3. Sheryl Sandberg does an amazing job articulating the importance of authentic communication. As a PR major I participate a lot in communicating, whether that be through drafting a press release, writing an email, or talking with an employer. One of the very important lessons I have learned through work in real world and in my courses is that to communicate efficiently one must be honest and authentic. One of the points that Sandberg said that appealed to me most was, communicating authentically “starts with the fundamental understand that there is no truth. There’s my truth. There’s your truth. Everything is subjective.”

    In my English senior seminar we often discuss the difference between reality and authenticity. I believe that someone’s reality is their opinion of the truth. Therefore, when listening to Sandberg’s discussion it became very clear to me that an individual’s truth is their way of being authentic.

    To communicate efficiently, especially in business and public relations, it is always important to be authentic – to stakeholders, peers, shareholders, employers, and of course oneself. Sandberg does a fantastic job explaining to her audience that for an individual to be authentic in any situation, approach the people and the situation by stating something along the lines of, “This is what I believe and that’s okay if you don’t agree with it. Now what do you believe.” This form of communication will lead to much more efficient and honest work in business.

  4. I watched Sheryl Sandberg’s lecture about effective communication and I was astonished about how simple but sensible and powerful her advice was. I am usually skeptical about “how to” lectures and communications advice because I think a lot of it is overthought and unrealistic, but this was incisive and intuitive. Her tenets of being authenticate and empowering yourself through responsibility and accountability are clearly effective ways to communicate. It is incredible the difference saying, “I believe this” vs. “this is the answer” makes. After reflection on my own experiences communicating with people in teams, supervisors, teachers, parents, etc, the principles she espoused resonated even more. Subtle changes in how you communicate, interact and represent yourself can have profound effects. This was a very valuable speech to watch.

  5. As I was listening to Sandberg’s ideas on authentic communication our final proposal report had not even crossed my mind. But after reading Ann’s comment about how we can use this form of communication with the organizations we are working with, I have a whole new understanding of it.

    This is essentially what we have been doing with our organization all along. We have collected data with the hopes of solving a problem and presented our findings and suggestions to the organization and asked, “What do you think?” If there were certain aspects of our suggestions they did not agree with, we simply had to respect their decision in not agreeing with our recommendations.

    The idea of being a “player not a victim” is also an important skill to implement anywhere in life. Being accountable for your actions allows people to gain more respect for you as a professional, a friend, or a role model. I also believe that when a person can take responsibility for their actions it makes them trustworthy because they are honest and you can trust that they recognize when something is their fault.

    All in all, both concepts are important methods of communication not only in the professional world, but also in our personal relationships.

  6. I think Sandberg’s ideas on authentic communication might be useful in our final proposal reports that we give to our companies we’ve been working with. If the audience might not be receptive to what is being proposed, Sandberg’s strategy of saying “Here’s what I think, what do you think” could not only not come off as too harsh, but creates a conversation with the audience.

    The concept of being a “player not a victim” is one that can be applied not just to the context of a business, but to everyday interactions with professors and bosses, and in personal relationships and friendships. Taking responsibility up front for shortcomings demonstrates honesty and gives power to the speaker by placing fault first.

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