Authentic Communication


 Authentic communication is not always easy, but it is the basis of successful relationships at home and real effectiveness at work. Yet people constantly back away from honesty to protect themselves and others.

As Sheryl Sandberg points out, this reticence causes and perpetuates all kinds of problems: uncomfortable issues that never get addressed, resentment that builds, unfit managers who get promoted rather than fired, and on and on. Often these situations don’t improve because no one tells anyone what is really happening. We are so rarely brave enough to tell the truth…

From The Grumpy Poet

However, authentic communication is not simply about saying what we think at all costs. Communication works best when we combine appropriateness with authenticity, finding the sweet spot where opinions are not brutally honest but delicately honest. Speaking truth fully without hurting feelings comes naturally to some and is an acquired skill for others.


Communicaid identifies the following key elements of authentic communication:

  • Take responsibility for your communication and this means not only for what you say but also ensuring it has been fully understood.  You need to have ownership of the message and be responsible for any fall-out or negative response.
  • Be clear in your use of language so that you are not misinterpreted.  Avoid ambiguous language and technical or specialist jargon that may not be understood.
  • Tell the truth – make sure your facts are accurate and don’t make false promises or leave people to make assumptions that are misplaced.  Also be wary of not making promises that you will not be able to deliver on.
  • Don’t over-generalise or make sweeping statements such as, ‘Nobody thinks it’s a good idea’ or ‘This always happens’.
  • Work with the facts and be aware of the difference between your subjective opinions and the objective facts.  Avoid second guessing and making assumptions about what others are feeling, thinking or meaning.  If in doubt, ask for clarification.
  • Build a connection with the people you are communicating with.  Show them that you care and are interested in them.
  • Be consistent both in what you say but also how you follow up.  Your words should match your actions and you should always endeavour to do what you say you will do within the timeframe you have promised
  • Create mutual understanding by being prepared to share a little bit about yourself and by being curious about others.  Empathise with other perspectives and always try to imagine yourself in the others’ shoes.
  • Build your self-awareness and keep learning about yourself.  Be aware of your own judgements and prejudices and the obstacles that prevent you from communicating authentically.  Monitor your own negative responses and learn to manage your reactions to certain triggers.


In addition to creating better relationships, building trust, managing conflict more effectively and improving team spirit, authenticity helps to create happier, more self-confident and open individuals.


13 thoughts on “Authentic Communication

  1. ViewPacific says:

    Excellent post. You really get to the root of what can make a big difference. I appreciate the practical tips, too.
    One area in the YouTube video which bears repeating. There is no single truth. We each have our own subjective view. Speaking from that perspective opens a world of dialog and trust, and therefore a richer and more complete vision of the shared truth.

  2. satzie says:

    Good post Otrazhenie 🙂

    Nice quote. A good fact.

    I don’t know why, but i dislike reading the word coward. I think that whether one is being a leader or a follower, a coward state might happen because of both the people involved. I don’t think with a leader in right way, any followers would be a coward. Vice versa. The responsibility, on any one to be a brave, lies on the both.

    I like the point that we are responsible both for the actions and its results.

    I would like to point out that this point “Also be wary of not making promises that you will not be able to deliver on.”. I use to follow this with profession. Sometimes its fine not to be too rigid on it. At times a promise thats been made out of a desire/heart, can help us to stretch ourselves and achieve it. I find this to be true in my profession and in relationship with my gf.

    “Avoid second guessing” This is a wonderful point. Sometimes by guessing/assuming what others think, we might not give the space for others to share exactly what they felt. I often use to second guess. I think i should be reducing it. But it becomes irresistible when we don’t get answers despite asking the question.

    “Be consistent” – I like this. Being consistent helps others to communicate well with us. It can help others to find a regular pattern, and avoid confusion. Another thing i should develop.

    And that video was so wonderful. I liked it.

    I would like to add another point that would help in communication. “Being specific when intended to be specific. Being general when intended to say in general.”

    There will be situations where we might not be able to say few things as we intend to. But when it is possible, we must do as much as we can to be specific when specific, and general when general.

    A good post all together, Otrazheine 🙂

  3. malootka says:

    Reblogged this on truthionary.

  4. Reblogged this on rollingblogger and commented:
    I love open and honest communication!!! Things would be so much better if we took the time to understand one another.

  5. […] when I thought Jim was perhaps a little overly pessimistic, I ran across a blog I follow where the latest post was “Authentic Communication.” He begins by quoting Noel Coward, […]

  6. Randstein says:

    A very good post. Clear, concise and to the point. Effective communication is usually the first point of failure in relationships whether personal, professional, or organizational. Failures to communicate in clear unambiguous ways results in those variations in truth and can be found as the root cause of many problems in today’s information centric world.

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