When I heard Newt Gingrich say that the reason he was unfaithful to his wives was because his passion for this country made him work too hard, I was nearly speechless (and that, my friends, is a rare moment). I yelled out to no one in particular, “Who’s buying this BS?!”

I was then reminded of one my coaching clients who had to deliver bad news to a direct report and his instinct was to dance around the issue so as to not hurt the employee’s feelings. The result was confusion, resentment, and the need for three more meetings to iron everything out. When I asked him what he learned from the experience he said, “Telling the truth saves time and money!”

Rarely, if ever, is obfuscation the best approach. Unless you are an executive assistant who tells the caller that his or her boss is “not available right now” rather than “in the bathroom and not coming out for a while,” speaking honestly and with clarity is the best approach.

While we all know that audiences can turn on you in a flash, what is also true is that audiences will forgive you for your mistakes if they feel that they can trust you and believe what you say. So take a lesson from thinking-about-thinking running for president Newt Gingrich and treat your audience with the respect they deserve.

Note: I could not find a link to the interview that was “neutral” so I will leave it up to you to watch whichever version appeals to your own politics or religious beliefs.

– Barbara