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If Authentic Communication Isn’t About You, Then Who Is It About?

Welcome back to another episode of The Defiant Business Podcast! I have Stephanie Bonte-Lebair with me today. Yesterday, we got to know her a bit. We learned about her business The Empowered Voice, and her journey from being a classically-trained singer to coaching business owners and sales teams on their communications. 

Speaking of communications, we’re going to talk about a topic that’s near and dear to my heart: authenticity in your communications. Most importantly, if authentic communication isn’t about you, then who is it about? Stephanie, thank you so much for being here with me again!

Stephanie: Thanks for having me, Ruthie.

What’s Your Definition of “Authentic Communication”

Ruthie: The words “authentic” and “authenticity” have been battered around a bit. They’re looking a little worse for wear in terms of marketing and sales. So I was hoping you could start us off by telling us what your definition of “authentic communication” is, just so we can all be on the same page.

Stephanie: The most authentic communication you can have is when you meet the other person where they are, instead of communicating from your own position. That’s because authenticity is all about really being able to deeply connect with that person, so that they can make their own choices about whether or not they want to buy your product/service. It’s not up to you. It’s up to them to make the decision for themselves. 

The best authentic communication is when you can share the information they’re most open to receiving, so that they can make their own choices. Instead of assuming that the highlights of your product/service are what you believe them to be, let the other person decide them on their own.

Ruthie: I think this is something I’ve been picking up as a business owner. I have to imagine that as a sales person, you also have to be a really good listener to get to that point.

Stephanie: Absolutely. It’s key to be able to observe, listen, and ask another person strategic questions. That’s how you develop the connection with them and create more authenticity in the conversation.

Ruthie: Because people don’t like to be sold, but they like to buy.

Stephanie: Yes, they do.

Learn more about using the “platinum rule” instead of the “golden rule” in your business.

authentic communication

How Can We Keep Focused While Communicating Authentically? 

Ruthie: Whether you’re a salesperson or a business owner, we’re usually excited about selling a product. If we’re selling it, it’s probably because we think it’s just the bee’s knees!

But how can we keep our focus in the right place when we’re trying to communicate from that place of authenticity, and genuinely connect with the person we’re talking to?

Stephanie: When you’re connecting with someone else, it’s important that you’re listening more than you’re talking. That really helps set the energy for you to be able to receive the information you need, in order to take the next step.

You also need to be listening to really learn about the other person, instead of listening to react or have the next thing you want to say already lined up. It’s best to really be present with that person and allow yourself to hear what they’re sharing. 

Actively Listen and Don’t Make Assumptions

I believe that conversations are the most successful when they’re not pre-planned. The minute you map it all out, you stop listening, and you start making assumptions about the other person and what they’re going to say to you. And you don’t want to ever assume that you know more about them than they do. I think that’s probably the key piece there.

Ruthie: Oh, assumptions! You said the magic word. I had a call a few weeks ago where I had made some assumptions. Assumptions go both ways; they can be positive or negative. 

I had a lot in common with the person I was talking to, so when she said certain things, I did not offer as good of counsel as I could have. I felt bad about that later because I felt like I hadn’t given my 100%, but it was a lesson learned. 

How Do You Help People to Communicate Authentically?

Ruthie: So you’re saying that it’s more about the other person, which makes sense. I’m interested in hearing how the communication methodology you’re certified in helps the people you coach communicate from this authentic place.

Stephanie: We’re a value-based communication method, based on core values. What’s nice about core values is that they don’t really change from home to work. The things that really drive you are going to be pretty stable over time. It takes major life events to change your core values. 

We’ve actually run studies on how people make decisions based on their core values. What makes them get excited about something? What turns them off? What’s something you don’t want to do that could turn them off?

For example, the method I teach is called BANK- Blueprint, Action, Nurture and Knowledge

Blueprints are About Structure and Planning

If you look at someone whose primary personality type is Blueprint, they really are inside the box. They love structure, systems, planning, processes, predictability, and they’re very risk-averse.

For example, if you show up on time to a meeting, that’s late to a Blueprint. Blueprints will show up to a meeting 15-20 minutes ahead of the appointment so they know where to park their car and they can find the best place to sit in the restaurant.

If you’re meeting at a restaurant, they lay out the plan ahead of time, and they get there early to mitigate the risk of traffic and of not knowing where they’re going. They want to respect your time and you need to respect their time. 

Action Types Are Out-Of-The-Box

If you’re an Action personality type, you’re an outside-the-box person. You’re  a rule breaker, whereas the Blueprint is the rule make. An Action type is known for sometimes showing up late to things because they didn’t take into account that traffic was going to be bad, or they tried to book too many things in their day thinking they can get it all done. 

So it can be a dangerous situation for an Action type to come in late to an appointment with a Blueprint. You could lose the sale. And that’s a value-based decision that that Blueprint is making by saying, “I value my time. If you don’t value my time, I don’t want to do business with you.”

And the Action type is like, “Oh, it’s just a couple of minutes. It’s no big deal. Why are you being so uptight?” Because they value freedom, flexibility, and spontaneity. Knowing that you can value the other person and create the most authentic connection. 

If that Action says, “I’m going to put my Blueprint hat on today. I’m going to come 15 minutes early.” Then you surprise the Blueprint, because they’re not used to people showing up early like they do. And they’re like, “Wow, I’m so impressed! You got here early. Now. I’m really interested in what you have to say.” 

Learn How To Authentically Speak The Value System Of Someone Else

So it’s about speaking the value system of the other person so that they perk up and pay attention. One of the biggest challenges in sales is that the person who’s being sold to can sometimes put on a shield of, “Prove to me that your product/service is the best” or, “You care about the money more than you care about me.” That’s a big no for a Nurturing personality type.

The Action type is like, “Are you the best there is? What celebrity client have you worked for?” Because Action types love to work with the best of the best. 

If you don’t know these things about the different personality types, you’re really risking stepping on their values. So we teach people what those values are and how to approach the different personality types so that they perk up, and you become more charismatic.

This is something that I have always taught as a singing teacher and a voice expert. How can you be more charismatic in your presentation skills? How can you be more charismatic and the use of your voice? And now, how can you be more charismatic in the words that you choose to use? 

There is something for every single personality type. There are facts and data for the Knowledge type. Processes and systems for the Blueprint. There is the heart, authenticity, and the relationship piece for the Nurturing type. And there’s the fun, the flexibility, and the rockstar energy of the Action type. You have the ability to go in whatever direction you need at the moment.

Ruthie: Oh, my goodness. And you can take that at

Taking The Quick BANK Assessment

Stephanie: When you take your personality assessment, you’re going to see these 4 cards which have the 12 primary values of each personality type on them. You’re going to sort them in order from the one that’s most important to you, to the least important to you. 

You have a little bit of all 4 of these areas in your personality. The question is, what order do they come in? Think of it like your pin code for the ATM card. If you put your ATM card in and you put your pin in backwards, no money comes out. 

So this is my assessment. I’m an Action first. I’m a rule breaker, mover shaker, millionaire maker. Nurture comes second. I’m all about authenticity, relationships, and really getting to know people. 

Then I’m a Knowledge third, which means I don’t need the details right away. I need you to connect with me in my Action-Nurture first, because the last two are my tripwires to a no if you lead with them too early. So if you started sending me charts and graphs and stats, I’m not interested in that to begin with. I might get there eventually, but don’t lead with that. 

The last one for me is Blueprint, which has all the rules, structure, systems and planning. I appreciate these to help me make money in business. But if you’re trying to sell me something and you’ve got too many rules on how I need to behave in order to be a part of your organization, I don’t want to go anywhere near it. 

These are my triggers to a “yes”, and these are my tripwires to a “no”. This is my “bank code”, as we say. Once you know someone’s BANK code, you have actually a 75% increased chance of getting a yes.

Go Take the BANK Code Assessment!

Ruthie: We’re all going to go take that test. You should know yourself, then you can know other people. That’s fantastic. That link will be in the show notes for sure. You want to go ahead and take that quiz and learn a bit about yourself, so you can learn more about the people that you’re trying to talk to. 

So that’s it for today’s episode, but we’re going to continue talking about how all of this stuff ties in and relates to sales. And that’s  your hint for tomorrow’s topic. We’ll touch a bit heavier on sales. So thank you for joining us today, and tune in tomorrow!

authentic communication