Ever met someone that talked a great game but was utterly useless when it came time to do something they’d been talking about since you met them? They talk themselves up, they hype themselves out of control, they do their best to insure you that they’re the best at what they do, or that they know what they’re talking about, and when the time comes to prove it there’s one of two things that happens.

A lot of us probably know what those two things are, but let’s explain them anyway.

They back out or back down.

They were never that great in the first place but felt the need to play themselves up as though they were. Whether or not they want to make excuses is beyond the point, it’s that when they were given the chance to prove how awesome or how knowledgeable they were and they backed down without even trying. This is the easiest way to quiet a talker that can’t back up their stories or their bravado. It’s a great way to shame them, but that tends to lead to a great deal of negativity that many people don’t need in their lives. Those that can, will. Those that can’t, will talk.

They make excuses.

So let’s say they do attempt to show you how great they are or how smart they believe themselves to be and decide to do so by example. That’s great, you might get to see someone in action that can really back up what they’re talking about, right?

And then they fail.

It’s not just a straight up accidental fail or a failure under pressure. It’s a horrific “what did I just watch” kind of fail. It’s trying to hit the hoop with the ball and sailing it several feet under or under the rim without touching anything but a whole lot of air fail. It’s talking about a subject as though you’re an expert and then being schooled by a grade-school kid kind of fail. In other words it’s the kind of fail that lets everyone around the person know that they were fronting when they knew very well they couldn’t deliver.

But then the excuses come in, usually something along the lines of “I wasn’t ready” or “Who in the world remembers that kind of thing”, you know, the excuses that make them look like the victim or perhaps paint them in a kinder light than their failure just revealed. You might be able to give credit to the talkers for trying, but when they fail the overall feeling is that they still lied, and worse yet they’re comfortable enough to make themselves look like fools while trying to gain your sympathy and understanding.

Why is any of this important?

In a personal, social setting it really isn’t unless you can’t stand or abide liars in your company. In a business setting it’s extremely important since the talkers are the ones that hype themselves up and then can’t deliver or make excuses and blame others for their deficiencies on the job. That’s hard to abide, and many employers will simply choose not to for the sake of the business.

So do yourself a favor, if you don’t know enough or aren’t skilled enough to do something, be honest about it.

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