It fell on a weekend, so you may have missed it. April Fools’ Day was my kids’ favorite day of the year. They could tell me wild things – some call that lying – and not get punished for it by simply yelling “April Fools!” when I caught them in the untruth. It was funny when they were little, annoying when they were teens, and just unacceptable for adults.
Over the years, some April Fools pranks got out of hand.
- A Philadelphia science museum spokesperson announced the world would end tomorrow. He was fired (1940).
- Burger King announces a left-handed sandwich. They were flooded with requests at their stores (1998).
- A clothing store employee claimed she was being robbed. She was arrested for inducing panic (2003).
- A Jordanian newspaper ran an article about a UFO landing. The town evacuated 13,000 people (2010).
And some legitimate news happened on Aprils Fools but was called into question because of the timing:
- A tsunami in 1946 that killed 165 people in Hawaii and Alaska (1946)
- Singers Marvin Gaye and Selena were both shot on April 1st (1984 & 1995)
- Gmail was announced – really! (2004)
- Roy Williams resigns as the University of North Carolina’s basketball coach (2021)
Perhaps you missed our April Fool’s Newsletter, announcing fictitious aids for the public speaker. I hope you didn’t believe them. But if you did, “April Fools!”
There is a deeper truth lurking. The reality is this:
We act according to what we believe is true, whether or not it is true.
This has implications to your work ethic, the way you drive, your relationships, your religion, and your speaking. With regard to that last topic, here are some jokes and beliefs that we don’t think are funny (or true). But if you think they are true, you’ll speak in a way that is not the most effective to your audience.
- If you just look over your audience (e.g. look at the back wall), you’ll be less nervous and they can’t tell . Truth: Your audience CAN tell (and won’t like it), and you’ll probably still be nervous.
- Imagine your audience in their underwear. Truth: That’s just weird. And I can’t imagine it works.
- Most (93%!) of your message is conveyed through non-verbal communications. Debunked.
- Speaking well is something you’re born with. Truth: No one in human history was born speaking. Everyone LEARNED how to do it. Imagine if you had learned the correct/effective way!
- Open with a joke. Truth: Jokes are dangerous and often don’t connect. Find another way to start your talk.
- 87.4% of statistics are made up on the spot. That’s actually true.
Learn communication techniques that are truly effective. Figure out what works. And do it.
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This article was published in the April edition of our monthly speaking tips email newsletter, Communication Matters. Have speaking tips like these delivered straight to your inbox every month. Sign up today to receive our newsletter and receive our FREE eBook, “Twelve Tips that will Save You from Making a Bad Presentation.” You can unsubscribe at any time.
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