I was walking to grab a coffee this morning in downtown London. The shortcut was through a dodgy block. There were Asian and Arabic restaurants, stores that sold falafels, and not a single white person.
One restaurant had an advert that said, “Fully licensed, fully airconditioned.”
This got me thinking.
How often do you see restaurants advertise themselves this way?
Does Mercedes Benz advertise their cars as “Has four wheels, rarely breaks”?
Does your local supermarket say, “No poisoned food, promise.”?
Does Boeing advertise its planes as, “Has two wings, oxygen masks, seatbelts, won’t crash”?
No, you don’t see that.
And not just because we assume these things are already included in the package. But because people trust what they see more than what they hear.
This is the classic “show, not tell” rule.
Hemingway wrote his books this way. Instead of saying, “Jack was washed over with a wave of disappointment…”, he wrote, “Jack looked down.”
When you write an essay, it’s best to avoid phrases like “I am passionate about XYZ…” – they say nothing. Instead, show why XYZ matters to you. Ideally, through a story.
The top brands work this way too. You never see Apple advertise a sale or price reductions on their products. They never engage in Black Fridays or Cyber Mondays. Instead, they deliver. The quality of their products speaks for itself.
They show, not tell.
You say you’ve got something because you want people to notice and trust you more. But the opposite happens: people assume you are hiding something. Real trust is built by consistently showing up with the best you’ve got, not marketing slogans.
Don’t hide. Don’t tell.