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The Real Reason Authenticity Is Not a Voice Value

by Abby Kerr

in Uncategorized

About this column

This weekend, I got real with strangers.

Bunny Standing in the SunI was lucky enough to attend a Brené Brown Daring Way Intensive. There were four of us participants, four women including myself, plus one man. We sat around an oval-shaped wooden table, at one end of which sat our facilitator, a rosy-cheeked therapist with a kind and motherly affect.

If you know anything about Brené Brown’s groundbreaking work around shame, vulnerability, empathy, and authenticity, you already know what I was in for. I was looking for a breakthrough in a specific area of my life. And I got it, or definitely started anew with a fresh perspective on myself.

As I went through the weekend, I found myself so inspired by some of the concepts that I kept scribbling things on blue post-its and sticking them inside my Daring Way binder. One of the ideas I came up with was this: I need to explain to you why Authenticity is NOT a Voice Value.

I’ve got 16 Voice Values but authenticity ain’t one. And here’s why.

Authenticity is assumed. It’s rightful. It’s omnipresent.

You may not always be feeling as authentic as you’d like to feel as you tweet or respond to a client email or write a blog post, but there’s an authentic part of you showing up in every area of your brand, from your web copy to your color palette.

Here’s some inside scoop on how I built my Voice Values methodology: part of the process involved listing out ALL of the qualities of ‘voice’ I could possibly detect, discern, and describe, and then crystallizing several related qualities into ONE emblematic word, like ‘Accuracy,’ or ‘Depth’ or ‘Excellence,’ or ‘Love’ (just 4 of the 16 there).

In my head, it sounded a little bit like this: “Well, there are some brands that lead with passion. They are all lit up-like. They feel spirited and joyful, even if they’re elegant and sophisticated rather than childlike or funny. So how would I describe that quality? Ah, Enthusiasm!”

But when it came to being real, to showing up, to being willing to be seen, I just couldn’t reduce that practice to one word.

Neither could I propose that some brands get to be more authentic than others. Because in my Discover Your Voice Values assessment, you come out with a ‘Top Mix’ of Voice Values — 3 to 5 that you naturally reach for and rely on more than the others. Who was I to suggest that someone’s “low” Authenticity value meant that they weren’t being as authentic as another? Nope. Couldn’t do it, wouldn’t do it.

Haven’t taken it yet? 48 questions, about 10 minutes of your time, and you’ll self-score your way to clarity on what’s naturally powerful about the way you tweet, Facebook, write blog posts, and email your list.

You’ll also learn a bit about why certain people are drawn to you and what you should watch out for as you grow your brand.

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Every brand has the same opportunity to be authentic. And authenticity looks different on each of us.

Authenticity is a personal art, a practice, a permission slip you give yourself. And we are ALL on that journey.

If you could stand to step into a little more authenticity in your own brand, why not start with one of the most important pages on your site — your About page? The About page (usually the highest trafficked page on any solopreneur’s website) is where an authentic connection between your Right People potential clients and customers is forged, or forfeited. Let’s go for forged, you and me.

Don’t think that I’m teaching this course because I’ve got authenticity in my brand down.

My own authentic expression is a work in progress, too, and my Voice Values are only a part of what’s helping me get there.

Over 4 weeks in June and July, I’ll be modeling and demonstrating my own About page-re-writing process inside Write Your Authentic About Page. If you could use some solid, strategic teaching around the art of the About page, some quality support, and tons of real world examples to inspire you, please check out the course. It all starts Monday, June 15th.

In the comments, I’d love to hear:

What are you already doing on your About page that feels authentic to you and your brand?

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

janice June 8, 2015 at 1:40 am

I’m in the process of curating the best bits from my dying blog, making it into a memory scrapbook so I can start a new blog from scratch. The current About me page has a few authentic elements I’m happy with. I think I’ll keep the phrases that are taken from some of my posts. (I listened to readers who told me which words they’d liked, forwarded or pinned up as quotes etc.) I’ll also keep some aspect of the bravery (I mention all of my me’s and why I do what I do, but readers and coaching clients who are Scanners, mature women and polymaths will appreciate the patchwork.) It also feels right not trying to be ‘pithy’ and succinct. I’m wordy at worst, lyrical at best and that’s what folk’ll get so there’s no point in trying to be someone I’m not.

Thank you for the telecast the other night. I follow you and Laura individually so it was a pleasant surprise to find out you’re friends who collaborate!


Abby Kerr June 11, 2015 at 10:09 am

I love that you can articulate this, Janice: “I’m wordy at worst, lyrical at best and that’s what folk’ll get so there’s no point in trying to be someone I’m not.” Owning your unique style is a HUGE aspect of owning your voice. And I would say — I have the same ‘wordy’ predilection in my own writing!

So glad you were able to be on the call with Laura and me. She’s pretty great & our collaboration has been really satisfying.


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