“If you really want to be a better copywriter,” advised the figure in the green armchair, “you should stop writing like one.”

“I’ve seen that done,” I replied, wincing at a recent memory. “Amazing what some people charge for.”

“You misunderstand,” the sage continued. “I don’t mean you should write badly. Anyone can do that.”

“Then what are you driving at?” I asked.

“I mean that your stuff reads like… well, it’s just obvious a copywriter has written it.”

“Sorry for having the temerity to be coherent,” I said with as much sarcasm as I could muster.

“There’s a good example,” came the response. “You’d never have written that.”

“What would I have written?”

“For a start, you wouldn’t have let ‘temerity’ or ‘coherent’ slip through the net. You’d have written ‘Sorry for daring to be clear.”

He had a point. I would.

“So what if I would?” I asked. “What’s wrong with that? It’s much clearer.”

“There’s nothing wrong with it. It’s simply that no-one would ever say it. And,” yawned my companion, bringing the conversation to a close, “if you don’t realise that authenticity drums up more business than clarity, you’re in the wrong line of work.”

“Not ‘authenticity’,” I muttered under my breath. “Try ‘being genuine’ instead.”

But I knew he had won.