The Value Of An Honest Business Conversation

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There was a time long ago, when honesty was indeed the best policy. A man’s word was his bond and handshakes closed deals instead of reams of signed documentation.

Unfortunately, honesty and square dealing are no longer guaranteed in business transactions, and plenty of shadiness pollutes the pool of commerce.

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As such, honesty is an integral part of establishing oneself in the business world, be it as a rep for a massive Fortune 500 company or as an entrepreneur. How does an individual incorporate honesty into everyday communications?

By simply being candid and straightforward in business conversations … in person or via an electronic medium.

What follows are some benefits to being honest, all of which are worth revisiting in the course of one’s business day:

• For better, and often for worse, we presently live and work in a hyper-litigious society.

Litigation is big business in big business, and honesty is a formidable weapon to combat frivolous lawsuits. Having an honest conversation with a customer or client allows all parties to know where they stand as it pertains to future dealings.

Additionally, maintaining documentation of honest conversations can prevent legal problems down the road.

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It’s natural to be occasionally tempted by the “fudge factor,” but being less than forthright can drag a person down very quickly.

• Honest conversations build a person’s credibility, both individually and professionally.

Who doesn’t want to do business with a trustworthy source? Once credibility is established, a solid reputation will follow, being ultimately rewarded with repeat business once word spreads among a given demographic.

• In one of his most popular films, legendary actor Clint Eastwood once said, “a man’s got to know his limitations.”

Honest conversations are essential for identifying and addressing any and all limitations within the context of business dealings.

Acknowledging potential obstacles up front may not always be easy, but it is certainly better than not being able to deliver what you promised.

An honest discussion and assessment of a given situation allows participants an opportunity to evaluate ways to provide improved service and performance throughout the business relationship, with no unexpected surprises.

The moral of the story? There’s plenty of honesty and dishonesty in the business world, and establishing oneself as a practitioner of the former is key. In all business conversations, play it straight and be honest. You’ll earn dividends in the short run, as well as long into the future.

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Image: iStockphoto

About The Author

E.J. Dealy is CEO of The Company Corporation, which provides incorporation services and products to small businesses and entrepreneurs nationwide including incorporating in Delaware, Florida, and California. The Company Corporation does not provide legal, financial, or tax advice.