Why Authenticity Is More Memorable

 In Blog

In the classic film Good Will Hunting, a therapist, played by Robin Williams, coaches a troubled young man, played by Matt Damon, who fears sharing his true self with a woman he loves:

You’re not perfect, sport, and let me save you the suspense: this girl you’ve met, she’s not perfect either. But the question is whether or not you’re perfect for each other.

If you are concerned that revealing your true self may turn off some of your audience, let me save you the suspense: it will.

But for thousands of years, back to the Greek tragedies and Shakespearean plays audiences remember and love the characters who are a mixture of good qualities and flaws — like themselves.

You may have heard the saying that in the absence of information, most people assume the worst. Think of your character traits as information. The more you share, the more trust you receive and the deeper the connection.

Here are small steps to consider as you begin sharing your personality more transparently.  

  • Embrace imperfections and mistakes. Actor Jennifer Lawrence is beloved for tripping on the steps on her way to accepting an Academy Award and for admitting embarrassing moments like plotting to get a date with TV host Seth Meyers until someone said, “Honey, he’s engaged!” 
  • Put your cards on the table. Years ago, famously private Johnny Carson did not share much of his true self or his views while hosting NBC’s The Tonight Show. Carson was funny and a great interviewer – and had almost no competition. In today’s late-night Nielsen battles, Jimmy Kimmel Live and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert win with entertaining shows that come authentically from them. 
  • Emotions are contagious. Consider sharing it through your voice, emotional words, or personal story if you feel it. At Star FM, Hannah B found many Suburban Chicago listeners relating to big feelings about her family history with breast cancer and an approaching first-time mammogram.
  • Reveal your personality visually. Before social media, radio hosts could get away with wearing a hoodie to work daily. Now, every on-camera moment is an opportunity to build your personality brand. Consider what you know about WMMR Philadelphia midday legend Pierre Robert when you see his clothing, hairstyle, and personal mementos around his studio in this clip.  

Memorable entertainment reflects the audience back to themselves. Famous psychoanalyst Carl Yung taught that we all have a dark side. He called it The Shadow. Most people only know their shadow when they see it in someone else; when they do, they find it fascinating. 

Photo by Felix Rostig on Unsplash

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