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Make It, Don't Fake It

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Make It, Don't Fake It

Leading with Authenticity for Real Business Success


15 min read
10 take-aways
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What's inside?

A major PR advisor explains why honesty is the best business policy.

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Public relations professional Sabrina Horn explains that you must resist the dangerous temptation to “fake it 'til you make it.” However, she adds, you don’t need to speak with brutal honesty all the time, either. Tactful language and confidence-building self-talk can be helpful – even necessary. Horn warns that a point comes at which seemingly harmless lies cross into outright fakery. She helps marketers, brand builders, entrepreneurs and leaders make it by not faking it.


“Fake it 'til you make it” first appeared in print in a 1973 appellate court document dealing with a pyramid scheme.

In the early 1970s, a company used the motto “fake it 'til you make it” to sell self-improvement classes and to recruit students to sell the classes to others by claiming they gained riches as a result of what they learned. The fact that the students weren’t rich at all did not impede their sales pitch. The company told them to fake it, so they did. The court quoted the company’s motto in its decision against the firm – the first record of faking it as corporate policy.

The principle of “power posing” has made its way into contemporary pop psychology. Advocates of "fake-it-'til-you-make it" urge people to adopt physical postures associated with confidence and power to feel more confident and powerful. These tactics may help temporarily, but faking it can mean deceiving others for your own gain. Notwithstanding PR’s association with hype and spin, sound public relations practices rely on telling the truth.

Good PR tells the truth compellingly, without exaggeration&#...

About the Author

Sabrina Horn, now CEO of HORN Strategy LLC, founded Horn Group which was recognized as the Best US Employer and Best US Tech Agency.

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