Writing in a post-truth world

Michael DormandyWriting

The Oxford English Dictionarypost-truth pop art trump recently made the news with its 2016 international word of the year – post-truth. Oxford University has given me three degrees and some of my best friends, but no one likes this new word they’ve added to our language.

So what is post-truth? The Oxford wordologists define it like this:

relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief

In other words:

  • Say whatever you want to convince people and don’t worry about whether it’s true.
  • It’s not about what’s real; it’s about how you feel.
  • No one acts on the facts; fiction is our addiction.

So what does living in a post-truth world mean for your business?

Well, it’s tempting to say that you need our help more than ever. If truth is incidental, shouldn’t you slash your research and development budget and just hire us? After all, does the quality of your products matter anymore? In a post-truth market, it’s how you present your products that counts.

Or not! You see, at Concision, our job is to use good writing to tell the truth – even in a world that is flooded with post-truth rhetoric. Our clients are selling some excellent products and services and we want the world to know the truth about how good they are.

But you need good writing to make dry facts interesting. A business writer should make the facts engaging – not write fiction!

In a post-truth world, good writing is more important than ever, because your customers need the truth about why they should buy from you. Sooner or later they will discover the facts and know whether or not you delivered what you promised.

About the Author

Michael Dormandy

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Michael grew up in London and studied Classics and later Theology at Oxford University. He has been Head of Classics at Ashford School, Kent, and has several published books. He enjoys reading and walking and thinks life is always better with a cup of coffee and a slice of cake.