Verify the Facts – Don’t Believe Everything You Hear

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Verify the facts. This is a key factor in negotiation and very important to do before you agree to something or believe something that someone tells you. Another way of putting it is due diligence. Too often people jump into something based on the way it was presented. Some people are very charismatic with their presentation and get people to agree to things they are sorry for later. When we do this we put ourselves at risk. We can create chaos for ourselves and end up with something that can take a very long time to unravel. Some extreme cases of this would be Jim Jones, Hitler and some of the financial scams such as Enron and Stratton Oakmont.

  • Jim Jones – Jonestown Guyana Massacre

On November 18, 1978, Jim Jones and more than 900 members of his People’s Temple committed mass suicide in the jungle of Guyana.

People were attracted to Jim Jones because he was very charismatic. He attracted people who were feeling lost, vulnerable, looking for an answer to their disenfranchised life and thought they found the answer with Jim Jones. Most of them were African-American, but there were also white people, Jewish people, people of Mexican descent.

They came from every walk of life, from the very well educated to the totally uneducated. Some had lots of money. Some were living off of Social Security, and some didn’t even have that.

People bought into the charisma without verifying the facts.  They were isolated from family and friends and lost their lives. Jim Jones was actually a delusional drug addict and his delusions took people to their deaths.

There are many articles about the massacre. Here’s one from a survivor who made it out 3 weeks before the massacre.

  • Hitler – Massacre of over 6 million Jews and others they put into the camps

If you’ve ever read anything about Hitler, you know he was a nobody in the beginning, a criminal, a troublemaker. He was very charismatic though and preyed upon a people who were looking for a change. The result was a hostile takeover of many countries and massacre of millions.

People were swayed by that charisma and thought they were going to get a better way of life. They believed it was coming and were waiting for the change.  Then he convinced them that the Jews were the problem and if they were wiped from the face of the earth the whole world would be better for it.  Sounds crazy today and maybe even sounded crazy to them at first when they heard it but in the end they had buy in.

It is the 70th Anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz Death Camp and this video should remind us about the importance of verifying the facts.  Believing in something so ludicrous sent millions to their deaths:

  • Enron, Stratton Oakmont (Wolf of Wall Street) and numerous others all drew people in with charisma and people went with what they felt about the offer rather than verifying the facts. It was good in the beginning but people should be cautious of anything too good to be true.

While these types of things are extreme examples, I see things happening today where one group is attempting to influence another by spearheading a hate campaign to take down or destroy that person which they hate.  I’ve seen it in the seminar industry, I’ve seen it in corporate American and I’ve seen it in the military.  It happens in every political campaign in the country.  The opposing side focuses on all the bad things about their opponents in order to get votes.  Why not focus on the positive of what each one is able to do instead of spending millions on a smear campaign to take the other candidate down.  It’s sad that people will focus so much negative energy on that kind of thing.  What you focus on expands.

I have a friend who is developing an awesome organization for women. However, she has other women who are purposely spreading rumors about her and reaching out to other women to get them to turn on her. What I also find interesting is that some of these people are believing what they are told at face value without verifying the facts. This is dangerous for many reasons but mainly without verifying the facts you are going on hearsay only and have nothing concrete to base that decision on. In my experience that bounces back on people and the results aren’t positive.

I know a man who was told his wife was cheating on him with another man that he knew. He did not verify the facts about whether or not it was true. Instead, he believed it at face value and immediately went and found the man and beat the man up very badly and severely injured him. Guess what? He found out it was not true and then had to face charges for assault and battery! If he had taken the time to verify the facts, he would not have ended up with an assault charge on his record. was created as a resource to verify the facts about many of the emails that go around claiming certain things to be true that most of the time are not. Why was it created? Because most of the time the things we are told are not true or at best half true.

The lesson here is to verify the facts before you put total faith in what you have been told. It’s better to do your due diligence to make sure something is accurate before diving in full force to find out the bottom just fell out of what you thought to be factual.

Everything we do has an impact on someone else’s life. Are your choices having a good impact or a not so good impact? You decide. Each choice you make has the opportunity to greatly enhance your life or totally ruin your life.  We are on choice away from that each and every day.  What will your choice be?

Eldonna Lewis Fernandez




Eldonna Lewis Fernandez
Eldonna Lewis Fernandez
Veteran negotiation and contracts expert Eldonna Lewis-Fernandez, author of “Think Like a Negotiator,” has over 30 years of experience crafting killer deals both stateside and internationally, many in excess of $100 million. She’s currently the CEO of Dynamic Vision International — a specialized consulting and training firm that helps individuals hone negotiation skills — as well as a nationally regarded keynote speaker, session leader and panelist on the Art of Negotiation. Eldonna may be reached online at

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