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Got Ethics? How to Fact Check and Enable Ethical Communication

Establishing the facts is a foundation of ethical communication. The second E in FINESSE stands for Ethics.
Establishing the facts is a foundation of ethical communication.

Does your senior manager wish you to bring them the facts to make a good decision? To do so, you must learn to be a good fact-checker. Fact-checking takes a lot of persistence and hard work. However, establishing the facts is a foundation of ethical communication.


The Role of Trusted Advisors

The role of trusted advisors is neither to persuade nor manipulate. Just as we would not want one of our advisors to manipulate us, we should not manipulate those who trust us. This brief article provides ten ways to check the facts.


Fact-Checking for Ethical Communication

Fact-checking is a crucial aspect of ethical responsibility. While no process can guarantee absolute accuracy. These ten ways will help.


1. Verify from Multiple Sources

Rely on multiple reputable sources to cross-verify information.


2. Check Primary Sources

Go to the primary source of information whenever possible. Find the source data, if possible. Understand the assumptions.


3. Evaluate the Source's Credibility

Reliable sources typically have a track record of accuracy, state their methodology, and are known for unbiased reporting.


4. Use Fact-Checking Tools

Leverage fact-checking websites and tools.


5. Examine the Evidence

Look for supporting evidence. Be cautious of claims without substantial evidence.


6. Consider the Context

Context matters. Information taken out of context can be misleading. Understand the full picture before making conclusions.


7. Be Skeptical of Confirmation Bias

Be aware of your biases and try to remain objective. Don't exclusively seek information that confirms pre-existing beliefs.


8. Ask Experts

Consult subject matter experts or professionals in the field. Their insights can help validate or refute information.


9. Be Mindful of Misinformation Tactics

Be wary of common tactics used in misinformation, such as emotional manipulation, cherry-picking data, or quick sound bites.


10. Corroborate Your Findings

Collaborating with peers or experts can help validate your fact-checking process.


Do You Need Commercial Fact-Checking Software?

Software and other online resources can streamline fact-checking. However, reviewing source documents and interviewing eyewitnesses is still the best way to get to the facts. And remember to develop an approach based on the ten ways to fact-check provided above.


Ethics when Communicating with FINESSE

The second E in the FINESSE cause-and-effect (fishbone) diagram is Ethics. Absolute certainty is difficult to achieve; however, the facts seldom fall out of the air. Fact-checking for ethical communication requires structure and discipline. It’s crucial to update the context and your understanding continuously. Be persistent.


Communicating with FINESSE is a not-for-profit community of technical professionals dedicated to being highly effective communicators and facilitators. Learn more about our publications, webinars, and workshops. Join the community for free.



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