Faux Facts

Faux Facts

Some messages are tricky. Well, lots of messages are tricky- otherwise we in the communication business wouldn’t be… well, in business. But I digress. The Faux Fact is our topic for today. For example:

– “When Alastair twisted his ankle in the hall, Helvita jumped up from her desk and ran out there, wanting to be in the middle of the drama.”

– “Your assistant put the coffee pot back empty, so we’d think someone else had finished it and she didn’t want to make more.”

– “I called to him but he just ignored me and kept going because he didn’t want to talk about it.”

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Can you spot the hidden faux facts? Here’s some help:

“When Alastair twisted his ankle in the hall, Helvita jumped up from her desk and ran out there, wanting to be in the middle of the drama.”

“Your assistant put the coffee pot back empty, so we’d think someone else had finished it and she didn’t want to make more.”

“I called to him but he just ignored me and kept going, because he didn’t want to talk about it.”

Why tricky? Because the faux fact might capture the attention of the listener, cause a defensive reaction, and lead to a discussion about the veracity of the faux fact. Meanwhile, the action- the real fact- is ignored.

Some speakers do this intentionally. They slip the faux fact into an otherwise factual statement because they want to get that zinger in without having to make an actual zingy statement.

Other speakers just seem to attribute negativity wherever they can.

If you’re the speaker and you like doing this- have at it. You know what you’re doing.

If you’re the listener, be aware. You have the choice of responding to the real fact or to the faux fact. Just know what conversation you have agreed to be in. Tricky.

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