I was having a glass of wine with a friend last night – a Malbec, which by the way, was sheepy, barn-yardy and yucky.. some Malbecs just baffle me (I don’t dig it, so I opened a different bottle) – and he said something interesting.
He said, “To be honest, Phil, I don’t think anyone cares what the buildings are like. There’s no connection between the maintenance crews and the customer desire.”
This was part of a long conversation about a timeshare development that’s teetering on the brink of disaster. So I couldn’t resist and said, “Are you going to let me know when you switch back to dishonesty?”
I love this little joke and try to fit it in every once in a while, even though it’s really annoying. I wrote it about a long time ago (Eliminate Honesty from Your Copy), and it’s covered in-depth in my eBay Marketing book, which is now available on the Kindle.
The main point is this. When you’re speaking or writing – especially if you’re involved with a persuasive presentation or document – it’s best to stay away from words like “frankly,” “honestly,” and “to tell you the truth.” Consciously or subconsciously people are going to notice and wonder why honesty all of a sudden became an issue.
Instead, use facts, logic and proof to construct your pitches and explanations. You don’t need to qualify your virtue when clear, compelling information is at hand.
That other stuff sounds “salesy” and a bit cheap. You’re better than that.
And, yes, please use my joke when you’re out with friends. It’s a real show stopper.. but it might just get you a face full of Malbec, so be careful.