• Story Club
  • Posts
  • Become a better storyteller… or scammer

Become a better storyteller… or scammer

My phone buzzes, and it’s a text message from my boss. 

“Francisco, I need your help with something urgent.”

“Sure, John, what can I do for you?”

“I’m in Barcelona now, but I’m stuck in a meeting, and I need you to buy something for me.”

That’s odd, I think. John has more money than God, why would he need me to buy stuff for him?

“Ok… what do you need?”

“I need you to buy me some iTunes gift cards. I have tried to buy them online, but they told me that it will take time before they can be activated, so l ask you to go to the physical store to buy the cards for me.”

iTunes gift cards? What the hell??

“Can you call me first? I’d need to speak to you on the phone about this…”

“I told you earlier that I am in a meeting, i can’t receive calls or calls out right now, that’s why am sending you messages.”

Hm. His grammar has gone all weird there. 

“I'll struggle with this, to be fair. It's pouring rain and I literally have no idea where I could get those cards.”

“You can get the cards at any store closer to you.”

This really doesn’t seem right. 

“Can't Yvonne get them for you? I thought you and your wife always travelled together.”

“Yes, But she wasn’t with me.”

“Nice try, scammer 😉”

“What are you talking about?”

I didn’t reply. I blocked the number and deleted the conversation, because now I was sure. 

You see, John’s wife is called Lyndsay.

Yvonne is someone who works for him. 

So either that was a scammer… or I just got my boss to confess he’s having an affair 😂

You suck at fiction 

Most people are terrible liars. There are just too many things to get right for a lie to be believable, and most of us are not used to writing fiction. 

And you don’t need any huge detail to be wrong (like your wife’s name) to get caught. All it takes is for you to 

  • Do something you wouldn’t normally do

  • Be somewhere you don’t usually go to 

  • Say something that sounds a little out of character

  • Sound slightly tentative or uncertain of what you’re saying 

If any of that happens, your lie - or your story - won’t work. They might not tell it to your face, but they’ll still smell a rat. 

That’s why telling the truth is the way to go. Because you should, sure, but also because… getting caught sucks 🤭

It only takes one word 

Even if you tell a perfect story - because it’s true or because you’re actually a good liar - it can still fail, and it only takes one word. You’re too smart to get an important character’s name wrong, but you can get in trouble by not picking the right word or expression for a specific audience. 

Corporate people have their own ways of calling things. So do entrepreneurs. Or coaches. Or parents. Or people who sell stuff on social media. Say something they would never say, or use a “normal” term for something they have their own specific lingo for, and you’ll set the alarm bells ringing. 

Sure, sometimes you have to edit a story: it’s often impossible to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth. 

But stick to it as close as you can, and make sure the language you use sounds true as well. 

I hope you don’t lie or scam people, but the world could use better stories 🤘


Whenever you're ready, there are 3 ways I can help you:

  1. Getting clarity through your story to stand out from all the other coaches, speakers and entrepreneurs out there 

  2. If you dream of speaking on the Red Dot, take this Scorecard and instantly discover how likely your idea is to be accepted by a TED-style organizing committee

  3. If you (or your team) got any storytelling challenges, I’m sure there’s something we can do together ;-)

Thanks for reading! Reply any time.