The Power of Authenticity

by David Ryback, Ph.D.

Our brain is a complex organ. The headline on how it works is that there is the old brain that deals primarily with emotions. The emerging news is the discovery of the importance of a The New Brainsmall structure residing in both sides of the head-the amygdale-where we process new perceptions that might be threats, for example, all new people we meet, including new clients and customers. When the threat is great enough, we have “amygdale hijack,” when the threatening information goes directly to the amygdalae, short-circuiting the thinking frontal cortex and resulting in “thoughtless” or irrational impulsive reaction.

The other part, the new brain, more recently evolved, is where thought, planning, and mental control reside. Here, in the prefrontal cerebral cortex, just behind the forehead, we employ the skills of effective communication whenever the power of persuasion is called for (as in management, sales, production).

The research on social intelligence tells us that the most effective persuasion is done with authenticity. But, by definition, it cannot be faked, so pretending won’t work. Simply trying to appear authentic is like the silly book title The Five Rigid Steps to Spontaneity. It’s an oxymoron.

So here’s the obvious secret this technology offers us: to appear authentic on the business front, you must be authentic. You might allow the new brain, your thinking frontal cortex, to imagine yourself in the situation you’re presenting to your audience and really experience-deeply-what you’re attempting to convey. Don’t hesitate to immerse yourself in the passion of your innermost feelings-others will follow suit. The result will be more successful and productive relationships.

If you found these tips from David Ryback, Ph.D. of value and are a PMP looking to earn PMI PDUs, you might be interested in his self-paced, downloadable courses at


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