The role of authenticity and vulnerability in starting conversations

Nov 8, 2023, 4:00 PM

Two people converse....

Being authentic and vulnerable has the power to create strong bonds and real change. (Canva)


SALT LAKE CITY — If it seems that people aren’t listening to each other, especially when talking about divisive issues, the way they present themselves could change the trajectory of the conversation. Focusing on authenticity, vulnerability, and honesty, especially if you are a leader of some sort, can deepen our conversations, create better outcomes, and forge stronger bonds.

Ganel-Lyn Condie, an author and speaker, said the courage it takes to put ourselves out there is worth it. 

“I’ve realized that if I’m not showing up with my whole self, then maybe I’m not really solving any problems or starting any new conversations,” Condie told KSL NewsRadio host Boyd Matheson. 

Just being yourself is a good way to define authenticity. It includes even being messy at times. Condie said that realness invites people to connect with us.

“If you’re in a leadership position, it can change the course of a meeting and a conversation and even some decision making when people see you as a leader that is willing to kind of pull the curtain back and say ‘I’m showing up with my whole self,'” Condie said. 

However, she cautioned that being authentic doesn’t mean sharing every detail. She said you can share just enough detail to tell the story, without entering TMI territory. 

Vulnerability in action

Condie uses a conversation with her collegiate son, as an example.  

“He was talking about … realizing that people don’t really remember what you did wrong or said wrong or not having the answer,” said Condie. Instead, her son realized that people remember how they felt in your presence.

Having all the answers is not important, according to Condie. More important, she said, is a willingness to have real conversations. 

“I love when someone says I don’t have all the answers, but I’m willing to have the conversation with you. To me, that’s very forward-thinking. And it allows for there to be growth and, and collaboration,” said Condie. 

According to Condie, when one person is willing to be vulnerable, it can change an entire culture. It ripples through, making others feel permitted to do the same. 

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The role of authenticity and vulnerability in starting conversations