Want to be experienced as a “Truth Teller”—Think Straight, Speak Straight…

Think straight, Speak Straight by using common, clear and tangible language  and audience will pay attention and believe you.

The point I am going to try to model for you is simple: I want to provide a believable  message about thinking straight, and speaking straight and it’s effect on you being perceived as a truth teller.  To expand on this I want you to use a common language understood by all that is jargon free, be clear in what you want to do and say, make the message concise and tangible.

There are all sorts of ways language can communicate truth. Here are some solid facts for you:

  • People usually judge that more details mean someone is more creditable
  • We find stories that are more visual and vivid to be more true,
  • To influence people provide concrete facts make think the events more likely. ( don’t overload with facts.)

Here is another study that gives us some guidance;  by Hansen and Wanke (2010). There findings support the idea of getting to your point early and repeating it often but not with the same words is a powerful way to be seen as credible  Don’t be vague or to general with your message; for example, ” We need more “green jobs” to reduce unemployment”. Instead be direct, concrete and keep your point simple to provide a compelling  reason for action. For example, “We need 250,000 “green jobs” by 2012 to reduce unemployment to 8%

Abstract words are handy for talking conceptually but they leave a lot of room for misunderstanding, spin and confusion by the receiver.  Tangible words,  pictures or a physical object are aligned  to something in the real world and they refer to it precisely. Solar panels and electric batteries is specific while green jobs could refer to anything that impacts the use of carbon..

Hansen and Wanke give three reasons why tangibility  suggests credibility and “truth telling”

  1. Our minds process concrete statements more quickly, and we automatically associate quick and easy with true .
  2. We can create mental pictures of concrete statements more easily. When something is easier to picture, it’s easier to recall, so seems more credible and believable.
  3. Also, when something is more easily pictured it seems more plausible, so it’s more readily believed.

So, think and  speak straight by making your message  visual, concise and  concrete and people will think it’s more true.

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