How to Show Up Authentically According to Sheryl Lee Ralph

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According to Ibinye Olayide (marriage and family therapist):

“It is important to appear authentic, so that real intimacy arises [can be shared]. Intimacy helps people feel safe, share their struggles and joys, and develop a deep level of connection. When we don’t show up authentically…the level of closeness [within a relationship] will be limited.”

These principles also hold true when it comes to cultivating a community around your brand or business because, as the old saying goes, people will only do business with those they know, like and trust. But how are we going to achieve this?

Sheryl Lee Ralph’s recent Ted Talk is a masterclass in what exactly it takes to show up authentically as it relates to hair.

#1 Personal styling

From your religious beliefs, nationality, favorite genre of music to your personality, “style is a way of saying who you are without saying a word” (Rachel Zoe). With this in mind, it’s worth noting that Sheryl Lee Ralph was already communicating before she even started her speech and that her clothing style (a blue pantsuit with a bit of sequence on it, accompanied by eyelashes, a bold lip and a tight ponytail) was more than likely a conscious choice.

Whether you are as conscious about how you present yourself or not, it is important to realize that you too are sending a message to those who encounter you (online or in person). One way to ensure you’re sending the right message is to style yourself in a way that’s true to who you are.

#2 Brand story

Another thing Ralph would have thought about before she said a word is the topic of her lecture. When you consider the positive impact she made in 2022 by becoming the first nominee to win an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy at the age of 66 (despite a 40-year acting career), it becomes immediately clear why she is “A 3-step guide to believing in yourself”.

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As she stated during her (Emmy) acceptance speech “To anyone who’s ever had a dream and thought your dream wouldn’t come true, wouldn’t come true, I’m here to tell you that this is what believing looks like”. That’s when her brand story became one of confidence and it’s that brand story that has led to more opportunities, like her aforementioned Ted talk.

With this example in mind, it becomes clear that showing up authentically also means sharing the trials and triumphs of your industry experience in a way that captivates your audience and causes them to take inspired action.

#3 Language use

Sheryl Lee Ralph’s Ted Talk not only shows how to use her brand story to reach a broader audience, but is also a case study in the art of storytelling. As the old marketing adage goes, “tell the facts; selling stories,” so Ralph doesn’t simply give the three steps to believe in yourself and walk off stage; she illustrates each point by telling relevant stories from her life.

One of the main ways she does this is through the use of humor and colloquialisms such as ‘shooketh’, ‘check up from the neck up’ and, at one point, the use of a Jamaican accent. By doing this, she solidifies her authority, credibility and expertise on the subject and in the process makes herself more recognizable to her audience.

What this shows is that language can also be a connecting factor; So it’s important to underline your story with words that are authentic to you and also resonate with your ideal customer.

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#4 Unique Selling Point (USP)

Another thing that brings Sheryl Lee Ralph’s Ted Talk to life is the way she uses her USP of being both an actress and a singer. Using talents that come naturally to her, she can masterfully embody the characters and emotions she portrays in her stories and further drive home her point(s) through song.

This also serves as a way to stand out from the sea of ​​other speakers who graced the Ted stage. Likewise, “If you don’t stand out from the crowd, you’re just in the crowd” (Rebecca Mark). In other words, it’s important not to conform to industry standards so much that you can’t differentiate yourself from everyone else.

By doing this, you leverage “your value proposition [to] answer…the question: Why should I buy from you and not from your competitor” (Neil Patel).

Because people only do business with people they know, like and trust, it’s important to show up and represent your brand/company as authentically as possible.

This can be achieved in a number of ways, including your personal style, storytelling, and using your innate gifts and talents (among others).

I hope this article will help you implement this within your current visibility strategy.

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