Have you ever played that game, “Two Truths and a Lie?”
For those unfamiliar, you offer three “facts” about yourself and have other players guess which two are accurate and which one is a fib.
For instance, if we were playing right now (and hey, why not?), mine* might be:
Guy Fieri told me I smelled great
My face once appeared on Go-Gurt®
Like most creatives, I’m an introvert
After playing this a few times, I’ve witnessed two opposing yet successful approaches: 1) Introduce three things that might be plausible (causing people to question which could be the lie) or 2) provide three highly unusual options (making others wonder what was true).
The whole point is to intentionally throw someone off, so they’re never quite sure who you are and what you’re about. You leave them scratching their heads, not sure what to believe.
While inciting confusion is a potentially game-winning strategy, it’s a lousy way to make professional progress. Because when you confuse, you lose—a potential employer’s interest, your boss’s attention, or a prospective client who doesn’t understand how you can help them.
When I work with leaders, my goal is to help them communicate and connect better with their intended audiences. While I tout the importance of sharing their unique stories, developing their emotional intelligence, and serving, not selling, I always come back to my power trifecta: clarity, consistency, and discipline.
I wrote a Forbes article on this, but here’s the Reader’s Digest /TL;DR (depending on your age, at least one of those references will make sense!) version:
When you’re clear, everything becomes easier. People understand you, what you offer, your value, what differentiates you, how you can help them, and how they can assist you. Clarity helps others know, like, and trust you.
It also enables you to align your goals with a plan to achieve them—and stay away from the things that can derail you.
Consistency is about aligning and maintaining your “voice” and look and feel in the ways that you present yourself, sound, and write so that people come to expect—and anticipate—your specific point of view and unique perspective.
Rather than make others guess, make sure to communicate your intended message with consistency.
Without discipline, you run the risk of trying to be all things to all people. And doing so lowers your competitive advantage and waters down your offering. Worse, people won’t know what to think of you (if they think of you at all).
Instead, focus on those one or two areas in your wheelhouse and your expertise in helping others so that your name becomes synonymous with those skills.
Now that you know, you know. And while I can’t promise to make you a better liar, I’m absolutely certain that by focusing on these areas, you’ll not only improve your communication, enhance your thought leadership, and bolster your personal brand, you’ll also strengthen your career.
Speaking of clarity, here's a link to my first(!) Clubhouse panel, where I’m joining friends Mohamed Hammoud, Deb Crowe, Steve Wohlenhaus, Alain Hunkins, and David Brier to discuss Leading in 2021: Clarity, Connection & Conversation. It’s happening this Monday, January 25 at 2PM PST, and I’d love it if you stopped by and joined the conversation.
Clarity and honesty can also help us establish boundaries—and be more productive. If you’ve ever fudged about wanting to do something (or your time to do it), only to regret it later, my latest Forbes article is for you.
And before I go, let’s have a little fun: What are your two truths and a lie? Challenge me by listing your three options in the comments below, and I’ll do my best to suss out the fib.
P.S. First time here? Awesome! (Hey there, newbie!) Be sure to check out the website to catch up on previous issues.
P.P.S Hey, you! Yes, YOU, the one reading this. Can I ask a favor? Can you let me know what prompted you to sign up for my newsletter? I’m super curious.
P.P.S.S. One more thing: If you think this post would resonate with others, feel free to share it with your friends. Or better yet, invite them to join our Illuminate Me tribe!
*Did you pick door number three?
If you thought number one was the lie, sorry. While we were taking a photo together at a conference (remember those?), Guy did, in fact, tell me I smelled great. (And no, I wasn’t dabbing bacon behind my ears, just a fresh, floral perfume). Did you guess number two? Shockingly, that’s also true. In my branding consultant days, General Mills was one of my clients. We tested out different packaging designs for a Go-Gurt® line extension for adults, and I made it on one of the options (cheap talent). Sadly, the focus group thought I looked “too young” (and that was more than 20 years ago—ha!), and I never became “yogurt famous.” And while number three seems legit, alas, it’s the lie. Though I was an extremely shy and sensitive child (like hiding behind my mom’s leg when company came over), I’m an extrovert, gaining energy from other people. For those interested, I’m an ENFP on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, with an off the charts N (Intuition). However, from what I’ve read, ENFPs are the most introverted of the extroverts, so there’s that.