Some people at the Academy of Executive Coaching have come to a conclusion. Somewhat surprisingly they reached a conclusion that I already had got to, and I suspect many of you will also have reached. We can tell when politicians and business leaders are lying through their teeth or are being evasive simply by noting the language they use.
Words that are supposed to be reassuring and indicate veracity backfire immediately, and we tend to go, ‘What a load of bollocks.’
Firstly, our hackles go up at any mention of the concept of honesty from these people. ‘If I’m honest…’ just doesn’t cut it, and Tony Blair never got to grips with that nest of vipers, did he? Nor did he ever convince with the words, ‘Believe me…’ because nobody did. ‘In all honesty…’ is also a no-no. As is ‘The honest truth is…’
‘Let me be clear…’ makes us automatically assume there is going to be some major obfuscation. ‘The fact is…’ makes us think, ‘No. The fact isn’t.’ ‘To be fair…’ presages a whole slew of unfairness, as we all know.
When you get a suit saying ‘In real terms…’ you just know they’re massaging figures frantically to their own ends. Civil servants are good at this, as is Rhyming Slang, who slithered out from under his rock this week.
‘The real issue is…’ means the speaker is going to duck the question, and answer one that nobody asked to score points. ‘I understand what you’re saying…’ always has a spoken or silent ‘but…’ attached, doesn’t it?
All of those came out in the work of the AEC, but they missed my all time favourite. ‘All right-thinking people…’ means those who agree with me, and the rest are mentally compromised for not seeing my point of view. Disingenuous and condescending all in one go. Oh, and I nearly forgot, And what about, ‘The point I’d like to make…(because I don’t have an answer)’?
I also reached my own separate conclusion that if you work for an outfit with a moniker like that, you may need to get a proper job, but heyho.