That is such an interesting question and I am confident were I to do a study on the subject I would receive just as many 'no' answers as 'yes.' Telling your audience a ‘fish story’ may be seemingly harmless, but even a little white lie can lead to others questioning your credibility. And, having your credibility questioned on the public speaking circuit is a sure-fire method of ending a public speaking career.
While little white lies may add to the quality of your story or anecdote or your sales statistics or any number of facts you may be providing, the problem with lying, no matter how small or uneventful it may seem at the moment, is that it can turn the tables against you in the long run. All it takes is one other person to know the truth and it can doom your future, be it in public speaking, be it in writing or be it in any job or career.
Part of the lying syndrome in public speaking is using other people’s material without giving credit to the writer or speaker of those words or ideas. That is known as plagiarism. When I first moved back to the States, I was teaching public speaking at the college level and the book we were using discussed how the then Senator Joseph Biden had plagiarized speeches in his early career and had also been found guilty of plagiarism while a law student at Syracuse University.
Plagiarism is stealing. Not attributing rightful ownership to someone else’s words and treating those words as if they were your own is a form of lying. To this day, I trust nothing Biden says because in his mind, he thinks what he did was irrelevant. When a school can fail you or expel you because of plagiarism, it is not a little matter – it is serious – it is a form of lying.
In public speaking, it is important to remember that you and your words are being judged. Your audience may consist of only 4 people or it may be 400. Whatever the number of listeners, they are relying on your credibility and your honesty as you inform them or try to persuade them to your way of thinking. Lying, no matter how insignificant it may seem, is not the way to prove your ideas, your opinions, or your success.
They say that honesty is the best policy and, in public speaking, truth speaks volumes. If your product, your idea, or your service is that good, that great, or that superior to any other, allow the success of your product to speak for itself without telling ‘fish tales.’
The Voice Lady Nancy Daniels offers private, corporate and group workshops in voice and presentation skills as well as Voicing It!, the only video training program on voice improvement. To see how voice training can improve your life, both professionally and personally, Click Here. Visit The Voice Lady's blog and watch a brief video as she describes Dynamic Public Speaking.
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