“If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”
― Mark Twain
Have you ever known a compulsive liar? I have encountered one or two them and it is an amazing lesson in human behavior. Sooner or later the really good ones still get caught. There is a whole line of thinking that suggests that secretly they really want to get caught. Could be.
Some people tell stories instead of the truth. I don’t think that everyone who does this is a compulsive liar. In fact let’s not even get into the entire discussion about is it ever OK to speak something other than the truth. Instead, let’s consider those who have an opportunity to tell the truth, but choose to do otherwise.
There are many scenarios in which an individual decides to avoid telling the truth. Delivering bad news is one common scenario and another too common scenario is during status reporting. I am specifically thinking about those who when reporting status or giving presentations are afraid to say, “I don’t know” or “I will get back to you”. Because they are afraid to say “I don’t know” or “I will get back to you” they come up with something. What they say may or may not make sense. If they are feeling nervous or stressed they may not remember what they said. And now the problems begin.
Have you ever watched this happen to a colleague, or perhaps you have lived it yourself? You don’t want to admit that you do not know something, so you give an answer. Now you have to live with that answer and your answer could be wrong. Or as we already discussed, you might not remember what you said. You know who does remember what you said? The person or persons you were speaking to. If next time you speak with them you change your story, they will know it and this will definitely not make a good impression. This is a quick way to remove the trust they had in you.
Of course you are worried to admit that you do not know the answer to something. But it really is better to get back to people with the truth, then to give them an instant and incorrect answer. There is definitely some balance here. If too often your response is “I don’t know” or “I will get back to you”, you do have a problem. You do need to be able to provide better information. You do not need to make it worse by telling a lie.
Hope you have a terrific week and that is the truth! Seriously, if you ask me again I will extend to you the same wish. It is the truth and I really mean it, how easy is that?