What’s your story?
The power of authenticity.

Written by: Tim McCleary, Chief Experience Officer

It’s early morning. You walk into a hotel conference room to join a group of employees who have gathered for an off-site. After a brief welcome, you’re first up on the agenda.

Your goal is to help the team members be authentic with each other – and that requires them to be vulnerable.

You kick-off by sharing your story – detailing a very personal experience you’ve had in your life. You put it all out there, hoping that this room of co-workers will embrace your vulnerability.

There’s just one catch. They’re not your co-workers. In fact, you don’t know a single soul in the room.

That’s how many of my days begin each month. When working with teams on the micro culture that exists within their function or department, it’s foundational to start with really seeing each other as individuals, not just as a group of functional experts who work together.

In the Involvement Practice at Urban Emu, we begin these experiences by explaining one basic rule of involvement: “Don’t ask others to do anything we’d be unwilling to do ourselves.” That translates to being both authentic and vulnerable – in front of a group of complete strangers.

Science proves the benefits of practicing authenticity, including some that may surprise you:

  1. Trust – Being authentic builds trust which is a key factor in how well people work together, listen to each other and build effective relationships.
  2. Health – Authentic connections with others build the health of our vagus nerve — the main nerve that starts at the stem of the brain and connects to our lungs, digestive tract and our heart.
  3. Bias – When we allow others to bring their whole self into the dialogue, code-switching can be minimized and understanding created, acknowledging the value of our differences.

Being authentic and vulnerable may not be the way you’d choose to start your day in a room full of strangers, but doing so sets a tone and enables individuals to deepen their connection with others.

And – if you can quell your nerves, it can be good for your health.

Thanks for being involved today.

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Urban Emu is an experience agency with a fast growing team of experience designers, facilitators, strategists, researchers, UX/UI designers, and software engineers that create innovative experiences to improve and transform businesses.

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