The the truth and lies that ever speaker needs to knowI’m not one for ice breakers, but if I must indulge in the activity – my favorite is two truths and a lie.

In a room full of strangers, you tell 2 truths about yourself and 1 fabrication. Then the audiences ask you questions and try to guess which is the lie.

Here’s mine:

  1. I’ve met Simon LeBon of Duran Duran multiple times and each time I was incredibly rude to him.
  2. I was rescued by the coast guard when my dad’s boat broke down on the Niagara river – near the Niagara Falls.
  3. I met my fiancé at speed dating, and he got my phone number in under 2-minutes.

What’s the lie? (I’ll tell you later).

Now, let’s play this with public speaking – except instead of guessing I’m just going to separate fact from fiction.

Lie: Public Speaking comes naturally

No, no it doesn’t.

Speakers who make it look easy labored long and hard to pull it off.

Last summer, I was fortunate enough to see the incredibly talented Danielle LaPorte do a Q&A at World Domination Summit.

The first questions she was asked: Would you be my mentor?

In a room full of 500 people, this well-intentioned lady had the guts to ask Danielle LaPorte to be her mentor. Moxie to the extreme.

The room hushed as we all wondered how Danielle would answer the question.

“No and I’ll tell you why. If I mentored you, it would take time away from my kid.”

Brilliant! Direct, honest and from the heart.

I’ve heard far too many speakers that they don’t prepare for presentations because they long to be just like Danielle LaPorte (or any TED speaker ever). The pros make it look simple. The muse speaks to them in the moment.

Because that’s how it works right? To be natural don’t prepare. Just show up and see what happens (another lie).

Truth: Danielle LaPorte worked her patootie off to handle the stage with ease and grace.

She worked for years with a speech coach named Gail Larsen. She worked hard. She prepared each presentation with the help of an expert. She received a massive amount of feedback. She took it all in eager to be the woman you now see on the stage.

She went pro.

Effortless public speaking happens because of hard work behind the scenes.

Truth: Do the work.

Fail on stage, shake visibly behind the podium, prepare for hours on end, tell your story and that work leads you to turning pro (as Stephen Pressfield would say).

If speaking is part of your long term goals, then work your butt off to get great at it.

Hire a coach. Go to Toastmasters. Join the NSA (not the one who spies on your email but the one for speakers). Say yes every opportunity to get your message out.

Don’t wait for the muse because if she doesn’t show you’re screwed.

So that’s more like 2 truths and 2 whopping lies.

Oh and #2 – rescued by the coast guard on Lake Erie nowhere near the Falls. The devil is in the details.