Blog Post

Black Letter Communications Blog

Expert pr advice for the legal sector

My truth, your truth, the truth

It began with Megxit. In 2021 the world watched as Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, told all to Oprah Winfrey in what has become an infamous interview. They mooted that they wanted to tell their side of the story, they wanted to tell their truth.

A strange expression, ‘my truth’ or ‘your truth’. As children we are taught to tell ‘the truth’. The idea that there can be variations or interpretations on an event, conversation or other is not new. However, adopting it as ‘your truth’ is.

Most of us would acknowledge that in the retelling of a story or event, recollections are often skewed in favour of the storyteller. Sometimes this is done consciously and sometime unconsciously, as we naturally view events through our own lens.

As legal PR’s, clear, concise and accurate communication is our bread and butter, and the advent of new ways of communicating piques our interest. But is a variation on the truth a new way of communicating, or is it just a childish refusal to acknowledge we all see things differently?
We often advise clients that open and honest communication is the best path forward. Don’t deviate, stick to the facts. When do the facts, stop being the facts and become variations of truth?

This week we saw Nadhim Zahawi sacked from government by Rishi Sunak who said he would take whatever steps were necessary to return integrity to politics. Zahawi, who feels ‘hard done by’ according to The Guardian, has swung back and said he now plans to publish his side of the story. Whether you agree with how Zahawi’s tax issues have been handled or not, it led me to ask, when does telling your side of the story become ‘your truth’ and are these now interchangeable terms?

I’m not an authority on these matters, and it may be semantics, but I think there is a crucial difference here. Zahawi has acknowledged there are two sides to every story, and he feels his hasn’t been heard. That’s very different to assigning a word as powerful as ‘truth’ to it. He hasn’t suggested that what has been said is untrue, just that not all the facts have been laid bare.

Communication, and how we choose to communicate is vital to our relationships, from those with loved one and friends, to our colleagues, our bosses, the electorate! How we choose to communicate, and when, can be very telling. We often speak to clients and advise that it’s not just good news that we have to communicate, it’s vital to keep communicating during challenging times as well. An open and honest channel of communication builds trust, builds empathy and forms the foundation of successful relationships, both personal and business.

When we start to see companies or organisations shying away from the truth, or refusing to acknowledge the truth, we start to see the erosion of trust. You have to look no further than our current government who have had a very loose relationship with the truth over the past few years, and so, as a consequence we sit and watch blunder after blunder, lie after lie become exposed. The catastrophic loss of trust and an abysmal legacy left behind.
The evolution of language is always interesting and perhaps this is another example, except I think we’ve become confused. It’s not ‘truth’ it’s opinion – and it’s fine to have differing opinions, but, as Meghan would advise, I’m going to stand in my authenticity and say – leave the truth alone.

word truth on typewriter