How To Become A Good Liar

Sometimes it pays to be a liar
Sometimes it pays to be a liar
Image Credit: Alan Cleaver

When we think about what it takes to be an accomplished public speaker, often times we picture ourselves as being a pillar of the community as we share with our audience the importance of public speaking. We have valuable information that we’d like to share with a group of people who are eager to hear what we have to say. However, this is not always the case. There are a number of very special circumstances where perhaps the very opposite is what is called for. In these cases, it’s time for us to show our audience what an accomplished liar we can be.

What Does It Mean To Become A Good Liar

I suspect that we all shy away from the term “liar”. It seems to denote someone who is dishonest or untrustworthy. Who wants to be seen that way? Probably no one. Let’s try something else then, how about becoming known as the teller of tall tales? What’s a tall tale you say? It’s defined as being a fictional story that is told in the form of a personal narrative or an anecdote and which challenges the listener’s credibility.

So why should you care about the telling of tall tales? The reason is because this is a highly effective form of communication. When you have an audience whose attention you need to capture, just telling them an endless list of facts and stats can often cause their attention to drift. If, however, you start to tell them a story that at the outset appears to be factual, but which seems to start to drift afield as you get further into the story, then you’ll have their attention.

The situations in which the telling of a tall tale may suit the speech that you are giving are many and varied. One obvious situation might be where you are talking about a political issue. You might want to take a position that the other side has staked out and then run with it into a potential future in order to show why this is something that you think that your audience should not support. You also might be giving a speech in honor of someone who is there and you decide that their accomplishments, while impressive, are not impressive enough and so you start to add to them. As you can see, tall tales are a tool that can be applied in many different situations.

What Is The Best Way To Lie?

If you decide to apply a tall tale to your next speech, you’re going to have to know how to go about doing it. Just to start things off, you need to realize that any tall tale is a story. Because of this, it has to be made up of a sequence of related events. Stories have a beginning, a middle, and an end. It also helps if your story has both characters in it and action.

What makes a story a good tall tale? It’s actually quite simple: exaggeration. That’s right – you have to push the boundaries of what your audience is going to be willing to believe. What things can be exaggerated? The most common characterizes of a story that are exaggerated are things like size (“it was this big”) and abilities (“then he leaped over the building”). In order to boost the impact of what you are saying, you are going to want to compare things. Small things to big things, fast things to slow things.

It turns out that how you deliver your tall tale matters also. In order to maximize the impact of your story on your audience, you are going to want to use a deadpan style when you are telling your story. The reason that you are going to want to do this is because it will add an air of credibility to your story no matter how wild or outlandish the tale evolves to be. As you approach the end of your story you’ll have a decision to make. You can either laugh in order to communicate to your audience that you were just joking or you can be earnest to let them know that you believe that every word that you said was true.

What All Of This Means For You

As speakers we are always looking for new tools that we can use while we are delivering a speech to our audience and sharing with them the benefits of public speaking. We often like to think of ourselves as being providers of valuable information that our audience is seeking. However, it turns out that we have another tool that we can use – the tall tale.

A tall tale is a story that is designed to challenge the listener’s credibility. Tall tales are an excellent way to both grab and hold on to your audience’s attention. They won’t see it coming and once it has arrived, it will to too late for them to turn away. The number of situations in which you can apply a tall tale are many and varied. Tall tales are stories and have to be told with a start, a middle, and an ending. During your telling of this story you are going to want to be sure to exaggerate things a lot. When you are delivering the story you’ll want to use a deadpan style and decide how you want to wrap things up: with a laugh or with serious words.

Tall tales are a tool that are available to every public speaker. Because they are not used all that often, this is a tool that can be very powerful when you do decide to use it. Carefully crafting a tall tale to match your speaking situation and your audience means that you now have an effective way to get your message across to your audience. Next time you are asked to give a speech, work a tall tale into your presentation and see just how far you can go!

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™

Question For You: Do you think that there are speaking situations where using a tall tale would not be appropriate?

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Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

One of the most powerful tools that a public speaker has is the question. Sure, despite the importance of public speaking our speeches are pretty much one sided affairs – we get up in front of an audience and we talk and they listen. However, when you incorporate a question into your speech all of a sudden you are now involving your audience. When you ask a question, your audience has to come up with an answer. This is going to make them think. However, it turns out that how you ask your question can have a big impact on how they answer it.