You might not work in PR (public relations) or the other PR (press relations) or marketing, but the theory is the same for all: write clearly, write honestly, and check your work to prevent misunderstandings later.

For PR professionals trying to get their marketing messages across to busy consumers and journalists, it’s vital to get it right first time. Slip up and they could find themselves in big trouble.

While doctors bury their mistakes and judges hang them, journalists print theirs all over the front page and even when that headline news is chip paper a few days later, the mistake hasn’t gone away. Ink is indelible, and so are bad errors. They can come back to haunt you for years.

In the media industry it’s important to represent your clients – and yourself – in an honest and truthful way. It’s certainly permissible to highlight all the positive points of a company’s business activities, while minimising the negatives as much as possible, but that does not mean you can create false facts, untrue claims or exaggerated assertions.

You can’t say: ‘The greatest shop in the world’ or ‘There’s no finer car’ unless you can categorially prove that claim to be correct. Which, of course, you can’t. Apple slipped up years ago when it claimed the iPhone 3G was: ‘Twice as fast. Half the price’. It was neither of those things and customers complained.

Carlsberg used to say of its lager: ‘Probably the best beer in the world’. The word ‘probably’ probably gave them some breathing space as far as complaints went, but even the Danish brewer finally admitted that the slogan might not be true and even created an advertising campaign to tell everyone so.

It all adds up to: no fake news, thank you very much.

Accuracy and honesty are the bedrock of all legitimate businesses – no matter what your line of work. There are thousands of PR practitioners operating in the world today, and there are millions of other business people carrying out a varied diet of work that requires accurate spoken and written words without professional input.

This is why it’s so important that you get your communications right, from the start There is no place for misunderstandings, miscommunication or mistakes, no matter whether they’re deliberately fabricated (unforgiveable) or accidentally conveyed (not as bad, but still harmful and undesirable).

Most miscommunication is accidental and that stems from a lack of clarity, accuracy and being succinct. Getting these elements right in your communications goes a long way towards elevating you as a person, as a colleague and as an associate. Truth and believability reap trust and respect from others.

Being clear and concise in your writing is one of the most important elements of the business world today, so make sure you have the right tools to achieve it. Teaching and training, such as that offered by BWA, can help you get where you need to be.

And there’s nothing fake about wanting that.

To learn more, and to join Business Communication Academy, click here.
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