The Truth About Lying

by Marsha Petrie Sue, MBA

We’re lied to 10 to 200 times a day, and tell a lie ourselves an average of 1 to 2 times in the same period according to Psychology Today magazine. How do you spot someone who is not being perfectly honest? Here are seven ideas to spot someone whose pants are on fire.

  • “To be perfectly honest” begins a sentence. Beware! This can be an immediate sign that something is being hidden.
  • Behavioral pause or delay. You ask a person a question and you initially get nothing. Exception: If you asked, “What were you doing on November 15, 2000?” it may take them a moment to think of the answer. If they pause after a more specific question such as “On this date seven years ago, did you rob a bank?” and there is pause, beware!
  • Verbal/non-verbal disconnects. What they are saying and their facial expressions or gestures are not congruent with the message.
  • Hiding the mouth or eyes with hands. This can be caused by a subliminal message sent to ‘hide’ their reaction.
  • Throat clearing or swallowing often indicates discomfort with the topic or what was said. Rapid blinking can be included with these two indicators.
  • Hand-to-face activity appearing unnatural or forced is used as a distraction to what is being said. The same can be said for grooming gestures as smoothing hair, straightening a tie or adjusting glasses.
  • Inconsistencies and contradicting previous information. It is difficult to remember a lie especially when feeling stressed.

It will be interesting in today’s environment of politics, candidates and elections to see how each of our candidates perform. Add on the competitive nature of business that can bring out ‘untruths’. Pay attention, listen carefully and be present in your communications. It is amazing what you can learn!

Do you have any other ways to spot a liar? Please share. I will gather them up and send it out!

Cheers, Marsha

Let Marsha tailor a presentation for your group. Change management, leadership, communication, conflict resolution and presentation skills are specialties.

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Speaker, Coach, Author
Marsha Petrie Sue, MBA
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