How hard can it be to write a chapter on the benefits of being sincere? That’s what I thought as I contemplated writing about sincerity for my new book, Ask: How to Relate to Anyone.
Couldn’t the lesson be summed up in two words: Be sincere?
It’s not quite so simple.
The problem illustrated
Here’s a recent response I received from a vendor:
Congratulations on your book. That must be so exciting for you.
In the interest of transparency, I wanted to tell you we are inundated with inquiries. However, we are trying to help as many people as we can and may be able to fit you in.
Can you give me your budget and timeline? We’ll then get back to you.
This communication was off-putting on many levels, but the most offensive part of it was the obvious lack of sincerity.
Here’s how I read it:
We are busy but we might accommodate you if you pay us a lot and your timing suits our workload.
I suspect the author of this e-mail understands the benefit of being sincere. He seriously underestimates the heightened ability of others to detect insincerity.
Studies support my observation.
If you want to deepen your relationships, respect others enough to be really sincere. Trying to come across as sincere, when you aren’t, will generate a reaction similar to mine.
I replied by saying: I’ll pass.