Darren has written a great post rebutting a guest post about confident writing. One of the key points that stands out is the original article recommended ‘You Don’t Need to Tell the Truth all the Time’. I agree with Darren, this is dangerous talk!
My recommendation is wherever possible, tell the truth, or at least don’t lie. Experience tells me that this is by far the best policy. Don’t incriminate yourself but also do not try to deceive. Lies are usually to cover up or give an inflated impression of success or expertise. Write the truth with confidence.
Well all know habitual fantasists. In my agency days I used to have an insecure boss who would try to bluff every situation. Clients were never convinced and it just damaged the relationship for all of us. Almost always the client would have been happier if he had not tried to impress so much or if they could have the real situation. His approach was almost always to promise the world on a stick. All the lies, cover ups and misdirections were just distractions from the actual work at hand. It was only when one key client pulled the project manager and myself to one side and confided they knew what he was up to that I realized just how bad an actor he had been. They actually requested in future we visit without him.
Lying is often counter productive. Another colleague claimed a project was “almost done” for months until he had to admit he hadn’t even started. If he had explained his difficulty at the start the rest of us could have helped him, the client would have been informed and he would have not needed the embarrassing mea culpa. His pride in wanting to seem on top of his work actually undermined our confidence in him.
People underestimate how hard it is to lie. You have to have a good memory and eye for detail to be a convincing liar. Most of us do not possess these characteristics to the level required. Bad lies are easily detected and the damage done when discovered is just not worth it.
I’m not suggesting that you open your heart on every single post. Not only is that unnecessary, it would soon get dull. Also I wouldn’t ever suggest full disclosure, you could get into more trouble than it is worth. Telling the truth does not mean revealing sources or breaking confidences, just to not mislead.
There is no need to lie when being honest works better. Fact is people are more likely to connect with you and your anecdotes will be more interesting because of the authentic details.