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Check the Facts

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The days seem to be gone when you could turn to the news for unbiased opinion. Where can we get our facts now? Which fact-checker do you use?

I can’t really define when it happened. The news has become mostly opinion. Check out any of the news websites. Read the headlines closely. You will probably find that over half will echo an opinion, or a perspective, not facts. I remember being taught in school (many, many years ago) how to write a newspaper article. It was about facts. It was making the headline echo the facts that were being reported. We were instructed to make the first paragraph contain all the important relevant facts. Expanded details about the facts should be added in additional paragraphs. Opinion was not to be included because we were reporting news. Yet as of late, it appears that the days of pure news reporting are quickly fading.

The rise of the internet as a tool for communication and information has destroyed our ability to read news. Blogs and newsletters (like this one) are common. We are attracted to reading opinion. It’s fun. We are bombarded by articles such as, “The 5 Best Ways to Lose 10 Pounds in 30 Days”. Do you really believe there is evidence in that article to support those claims. No. It is just one writer’s opinion. In today’s world, it is important that we distinguish between opinion and fact. The wide divide of opinions we experience is fueling the divide of society. Without understanding the facts, or a way to even discover the facts, we just become more divided.

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© Flickr user Julija…!

To be fully clear and transparent, this post is opinion. I am not making up facts, but my thoughts are my perspective. This blog has one purpose, to challenge you to think about your perspective, not inherit mine. Thinking is a critical skill. I hope each week when you read any newsletter, blog post or news story, you stretch that muscle. But in a world which is increasingly more difficult to check facts, it is ever more important that you do. Now that we have so many ways to choose to communicate, we have to be thoughtful in the way that we do so. Ashley Lee took a look at AccelaWork’s own Robby Slaughter, consultant and a principal of AccelaWork, as he spoke with Inside Indiana Business about communication strategies. One of the biggest takeaways for me was this:

Communicate through Stories

When explaining a situation, use a name, tell the details in the order they happened, and describe the resolution. The arc of a good story lives forever in the mind of a listener.

Slaughter does caution readers however, to be careful about being silly, boastful, or overly clever. When we attempt to unnecessarily impress others or force laughter, it can oftentimes have an adverse effect. Instead, be intentional in your communication. If you end up conjuring laughs or compliments through genuine remarks, that is certainly great! The point is, find balance. If you do, you will end up being someone those around you consider a pleasurable conversationalist.

This seems to possibly be part of the reason why so many blogs and news articles are overly opinionated. They are communicating through stories, true, but it’s that last part that counts the most. You must be intentional with your stories. If you’re going into writing a piece with the desire to make people laugh or make people listen through boastful remarks, there is no way that article will ever be unbiased. In my experience, searching for scholarly articles that are peer reviewed is one of the best ways to ensure that someone’s claims are true.

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Mark S. Brown
Mark S. Brown is an executive coach who is passionate about personal development. He works to make a difference in people's lives by empowering them with skills and knowledge that will improve their lives, the lives of their families, and the communities they live in. Mark has been coached, mentored, and certified by John Maxwell and his team. This coaching certification allows Mark to successfully coach and train individuals, groups, organizations, and companies.
Mark S. Brown

@mark_s_brown

Executive and Business Coach at New Roads Leadership. A founding partner of the John Maxwell Team. We coach for your personal success!
Mark S. Brown
Mark S. Brown

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