Tell the truth

Tell the truth

When it comes to effective communication, it is absolutely important to tell the truth. If a reader or potential customer views you as untrustworthy, you’ll fail. Does that mean you need to answer every single question they ask? No it doesn’t. You may have very wise reasons for not divulging everything, so tell them what you can and why you can’t elaborate.

This is Communications 101.

There are some writers who don’t like to talk about their children or broadcast exactly where they live. You have boundaries, and only you can enforce those boundaries. What you can’t do is lie about it.

Do you remember Ryan Lochte at the Rio Olympics last summer? Whether he embellished his harrowing escape from gun-wielding police officers or simply couldn’t remember exactly what happened, his multiple stories damaged his credibility, almost irreversibly. When you’re answering questions about where you got your idea for a spy who barreled through Berlin on a motorbike, make sure you tell them the truth. Did you try to ride a motorbike through Berlin or did you just watch a YouTube video?

How about the Whole Pantry Author Belle Gibson? She lied for nearly a decade about having terminal cancer. She launched her business on it. Think she still has a company or readership? Probably not.

I’m not suggesting that writers lie, but what I do want to point out is that we work in the world of fiction. When writers talk with readers, they become publicists and marketers. There is a misperception that those professions are rampant with liars, spinners, charlatans. Protect yourself by answering truthfully, without hesitation.

But if there is a scenario where you don’t want to discuss your personal information, then don’t. And tell only what you want. Resist the urge to embellish details. You may get away with it for a while, but over time, you’ll lose. In the day and age of instant information, you can’t keep secrets for long.

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