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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

De facto Lying, or Why People Don't Trust You

Seth Godin brings up a great point, that often people may distrust what we say, not because we have been dishonest with them, but because someone else has.

The reason that people don't believe you isn't that you're a liar. The reason we don't believe you is that the guy before you (and the woman before him) were unduly optimistic hypesters and we got burned. We believed, we leaned into it and we got stuck.

If you catch yourself making a promise that's been made before, stop. Don't spend a lot of time and effort building credibility with this sort of promising, because it doesn't pay off.
I think that a lot of times we are tempted to make promises in church. We promise that a program will be effective. We promise that people we start coming because we start using PowerPoint or have more contemporary music or a program for children. But then if our program fails, if our hype isn't realized, if we fall short of our expectations, then we look like we're liars.

What if we adopted an attitude of experimentation? What if we made it acceptable to try different things looking for something that will work, knowing that many attempts will fail? What if we didn't have to make promises?

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