MagnifyingTruthYou’re involved in some sensitive, public issues in your job, and your employees and the public are keeping an eye on these matters every day.

 

You are walking out of the elevator on your way home from work when a local television news reporter thrusts a microphone in your face (with bright lights glaring) and asks a question you’d rather not be asked. The next afternoon, you’re picking out apples in the produce section of the grocery store when a neighbor asks you basically the same question as the news reporter.

What would you say to the reporter? What would you say to the neighbor in the grocery?

You tell the truth, of course.  Or, better said, you deliver the T.R.U.T.H.

T – Tell the Truth

R – Rehearse and practice

U – Understand facts and feelings

T – Three times

H – Humility helps

How do you tell the truth with clarity and confidence in a pressure cooker situation?  You follow the steps of T.R.U.T.H.  We’ll start this week by looking at the “T” and the “R” and will delve deeper into the other steps in future weeks. 

T - Tell the truth. Never embellish or lie.  Be prepared. So far, so good.  By doing these things, you increase your ability to communicate with clarity and confidence.

Sophocles said, “The truth is always the strongest argument.” Abraham Lincoln said, “Truth is generally the best vindication against slander.” Francis Bacon said, “No pleasure is comparable to the standing upon the vantage-ground of truth.”

What are further advantages of telling the truth? When you are truthful, people tend to trust you. (They may not like you, but they’ll trust you.) Also, when you tell the truth – and you know this -- you’ll never have to remember what you said previously in order to cover up anything. You can rely on memory and recount the truth. When you are prepared, you can tell the truth in any setting, even with a television news microphone held in your face.

R – Rehearse and practice - Remember all skills require practice to get better at them and so does communicating.  Practice and prepare to ensure you don't get caught off guard.  Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scouts, offered boys this advice: “Be prepared.” Asked what one should be prepared for, Baden-Powell replied, “Why, for any old thing.” You, too, should be prepared for any old thing when it comes to communicating with your teams and the public. The first thing you should do is prepare your message in advance. As an organization, you establish your position on an issue – based on what is true and right – and then discuss supporting facts. Then, you, as an individual, can repeat and rehearse those facts so that, when you walk out of the elevator and a television news crew is there – or you meet a stranger in the grocery – you will be well rehearsed in the truth and can speak it confidently to anyone.

The public has come to expect people with power or in high places to tell lies. Recently, while testifying before a Senate committee, a high level official for the NSA referred to a lie he had told previously. He said that he had tried to speak in the “least untruthful” way possible. It turns out, then, that telling the truth may very well be a radical thing to do these days. Telling the truth can make you stand out from the crowd – and earn you trust.

In a court of law, a witness is required to tell “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.” The witness is on the honor system. However, if anything they say is found to be a lie, then they can be charged with the crime of perjury. When you speak in public, you, too, are on the honor system. If you prepare in advance what you will say and how you want to say it, then your ability to tell the truth with clarity and confidence will be strengthened.

In coming weeks, we’ll look at understanding facts and feelings, the impact of repetition, and how humility impacts your messaging.  When the T.R.U.T.H. becomes second nature to you, you can more easily avoid mistakes and win by saying what needs to be said in the right way.

If you are interested in learning more about communicating the truth with clarity and confidence in any situation, contact Orgwide Services at 901-850-8190.

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