Randy Pausch, Dynamic Communication and Authenticity

Randy Pausch died last Friday.  He was the Carnegie Mellon Professor who’s “Last Lecture” became an internet sensation, inspired a bestselling book and two Diane Sawyer television specials.

Have you seen the Last Lecture, or read the book?  Have you seen the television specials?  What do you think?  Please leave a comment, letting us know.

Randy Pausch was a dynamic communicator.  In Straight Talk for Success, I point out that dynamic communication is one of five keys to a successful life and career.  If you want to become a dynamic communicator, you need to develop your conversation, writing and presentation skills. 

More important, you need to be authentic.  Randy Pausch’s authenticity is what made his Last Lecture such a phenomenon.  You can see it here.

In May, Randy Pausch was the commencement speaker at Carnegie Mellon.  Even though he was close to dying from Pancreatic Cancer, he was upbeat and humorous.  “If I don’t seem as depressed or morose as I should be, sorry to disappoint you.”

He went on to offer some great advice to the graduates.  “Pretty much any time I got a chance to do something cool, I tried to grab for it.  And that’s where my solace comes from.  We don’t beat the reaper by living longer; we beat the reaper by living well and living fully.”

I’ve seen the lecture on the internet, read the book and watch the TV specials.  I came to really like and respect Randy Pausch because of his perspective, sense of humor and, most of all, his authenticity.  As I watched and read, I felt as if her were there speaking to me about his life and his impending death.

His authenticity touched me.  Dictionary.com defines authentic as “not false or copied, genuine, real.”  Randy Pausch was all of those, with a sense of humor.

As I write this, I’m reminded of some advice I got yesterday.  Jean Phaneuf is an Organizational Psychologist in Montreal.  In our conversation, he said something that really resonated with me.  “Bud, you have a big head and a big heart – you’re smart and you care about others.  You lead with your head.  You need to let your heart show more.”  He’s right.  The heart begets authenticity.  I’m working on becoming more authentic.

The common sense point here is simple.  If you want to become a dynamic communicator you must become a great conversationalist, a clear and succinct writer and a skillful presenter.  More important, you need to be genuine and real.  You can have all of the communication skills in the world, but if people don’t see you as authentic, you won’t become a truly dynamic communicator.  People are drawn to authenticity just as they are repelled by inauthenticity. 

That’s my take on Randy Pausch, dynamic communication and authenticity.  What’s yours?  Please leave a comment.  I value all of the comments I receive on these posts.  Thanks for reading.


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