Ten years ago, I put an audience of 5,000 people to sleep with my presentation at a business conference. That was the beginning of my passion of creating authentic connection with others.
From my “failure” that day, not only did I discover a passion for engaging with people, I discovered that without speaking from the heart, no one was listening.
Here are 7 ways I learned to fearlessly and authentically engage others, do better in business and life, and have a great time along the way:
1. Drop your barriers and be willing to be imperfect.
A significant barrier to authentically engaging with others is the idea we have to appear perfect or project a certain image. We’ll do this to try and avoid being judged as wrong or weird. But the willingness to yourself, imperfections and all, is what actually allows people to relate to you and feel connected.
Instead of worrying about being judged, be yourself. If you make a mistake and laugh at it, rather than judge yourself, it relaxes others, and gives them the message that it’s okay to be themselves, too.
2. Stop anticipating the worst.
If you’ve had bad experiences in the past, it can be easy to slip into bad habits of anticipating the worst and entertaining “what ifs” of things going wrong, or people not liking you. But the majority of people out there aren’t there to be your enemy!
Rather than imagine fighting potential judgments or reactions from others, refocus. Ask, “What contribution can I be here?” Consider the possibilities, rather than anticipate or imagine potential problems.
3. Don’t worry about judgments or reactions from others, even if they do occur.
Everybody has different perspectives and interesting points of view. And that’s what judgments are – just interesting points of view! Multiple perspectives about a topic can exist and it doesn’t make you, or anyone else wrong.
Develop humor with judgment. Imagine the people around you as zoo animals and their opinions as funny sounds coming from weird and wonderful creatures. Enjoy the experience of being surrounded by interesting creatures (people) and welcome their different animals sounds (opinions) and don’t make any of it significant or serious.
4. Get joyful about being judged.
Imagine enjoying judgments rather than feeling the need to avoid them or be influenced by them. When you try to avoid judgments or negative reactions, you limit your voice in the world, and turn down or hide the best parts of you. Start asking each day: “What interesting point of views can I encounter today?”
Being joyful regardless of whether you are being judged means you won’t let what other people think or say hold you back from freely expressing yourself as uniquely and as powerfully as you can.
5. Use language, words and examples that others will relate to and understand.
Your message is only as powerful as a person’s ability to receive it and hear it.
Pay attention to the interests and backgrounds of the people you are with. Listen to the language and words they use and the topics that are relevant to them. If they come from a high stress job, engage them around that, if they are working moms, make your stories, messages and questions relevant to their experience.
Be interested in and aware of the people you are talking to so that you can speak to what is meaningful and interesting to them.
6. Invite people into your message.
When you don’t have a need or expectation of people, people respond to that. Your interactions with them become more invitational and less “pushy”. It’s not about them having to believe you or buy into what you say, what if you are there to extend a possibility – that they can try on, or not. If your approach is “How much fun can we have together?” rather than trying to get a specific result from your interaction, the pressure comes off of you and anyone to do anything other than just be yourselves.
7. Remember to smile.
Don’t underestimate the power of a smile and positive attitude! Laughter and enjoyment create far more connection with others than anything else. At the end of the day, people will tend to remember very little about what you said, but they will remember the impressions you left them with, and how they felt after being around you. What energy do you want people to have in their lives after engaging with you?
Being yourself without any pretense and sharing your messages authentically from the heart is a beautiful thing to witness and engage with. Bring down that walls and don’t try to be perfect and impress people, you’ll create far more with your authentic “imperfect” self – and you’ll have a lot more fun, too!
Kazuhiro Hosoya is a business and speaking coach, counselor and hypnotherapist. Growing up in a small town in Tochigi, Japan, he became fascinated with self expression, communication and the human mind. For the last 11 years Kazuhiro has been a certified trainer for the American NLP Association, coaching people in business and communication. He is also a certified Right Voice For You facilitator, a special program from Access Consciousness, helping open his clients up to endless possibilities in business, careers and relationships. He published his first book in 2017.