Authenticity: being the person, not the message

Ellwood Atfield partnered with Sasha Damjanovski to host a breakfast around Authenticity: being the person, not the message.

Sasha explored the dictionary definition of authenticity ‘being worthy of belief’.

He suggested that we generally judge people’s authenticity on how: charismatic, trustworthy and charming they are:

  • Charisma – demonstrating presence, power and warmth
  • Charm – making other people feel good
  • Trustworthy – people who appear who they say they are and do what they say will

Sasha recommended a good book on charisma, if you’re interested in learning more about this topic is: “The Charisma Myth” by Olivia Fox Cabane in which she discusses the main components of charisma: presence, power, and warmth.

Sasha suggested that ‘charming’ people are those who show an interest in you and give their genuine opinion about you; they are also present while having a conversation – looking you in the eye, demonstrating active listening.

As Maya Angelou once famously said:

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

This goes for interviews, pitch presentations, dates, etc!

Sasha interestingly discussed the five stages of negotiation

  1. Active listening – you demonstrate that you are truly listening
  2. Empathy -you show that you understand how they feel, where they’re coming from
  3. Building rapport – you demonstrate that you feel how they feel, in other words – you feel back
  4. Influence –  as trust has been established, you’ve earned your right to work with them on seeking a solution
  5.   Behavioural change – they act

Sasha reiterated how having a rapport with someone is so important in all areas of life. Facts alone are not enough, you need to have a connection with them and building this connection can only be achieved by demonstrating authenticity.

Sasha Damjanovski, is a producer, director and writer, has spent years persuading people in film and business communications to do his bidding, collaborating with professionals from all walks of life, professional experience and standing. Check out his website: or blog

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