How to spot a liar? Here are 8 ways.

Who’s lying to who?

You and I will agree that nobody likes to be lied to, and after working with organisational psychologists and a decade of consulting work, I’m naturally curious on how liars can be spotted. I did a quick research online and also cross-reference with my own experience, and here’s what I have for you.

Remember: What’s written below are not absolute signs, but more like mini-triggers that indicate someone may not be truthful. Hope you don’t take them all as sure things.

1. Not Smiling With The Eyes

Natural smiles are not just with the lips, but also with the eyes.

2. Speaking Faster than Normal

Well, when someone is anxious and/or nervous, the heart rate increases, pacing up their speech too.

3. Ask Them to Story Backwards

When someone is lying, they usually memorise their stories and try to keep them the same. And as you probe further, instead of giving more details like a normal person would, they will try to simplify their stories. Also, if they were to add more details, sometimes it doesn’t add up. By asking them to tell the story backwards, which is uncommon, you may be able to pick up a thing or two.

4. Is There a Mismatch in Body Language

What happens on the inside reflects on the outside, hence the mismatch of gestures and what is being said.

5. Answers Sound Rehearsed

Liars run through their answers repeatedly because they want to be prepared when asked. This makes their answers sound less unnatural than usual.

6. Not Surprised When Confronted

Same as above, because they have rehearsed different scenarios and also the responses. As a matter of fact, a common trick that police officers play on suspects is to put them in jail cell overnight. The first one to sleep is usually the guilty one, as they somehow have prepared for it.

7. Breaking Eye Contact

When lying, a person will break eye contact due to the shame or guilt they feel.

8. Over Compliment

Because they know they have done something wrong, they will try to be nice to make up for it.

Yup. Being lied to is a bad, but we have to remain objective of the situation, especially if it happens to be work-related. The important thing is not if a person is lying to you, but rather why is the person lying to you? What’s motivating them to do so? What are they really trying to say?

Here’s where more advanced questioning techniques come into play, which we do cover in the Power Communications workshop next week. Other than learning how to tactically use questions to uncover the reasons that motivate a person to lie, you’ll also learn how to:

  • Find out what gestures that may undermine your message and how to avoid them
  • Discover ways to build quick rapport with anyone and gain trust easily
  • Learn how to communicate across to people of different personalities
  • Understand why tough people behave that way, and how to make them your allies
  • and more!
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