Test Your Lie Detection Skills

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People say, “I know when someone is lying.” Others relate that they get a gut feeling when in the presence of a prevaricator. Some believe liars won’t look you in the eyes. Those folks never faced off with those big brown liquid-filled eyes of a 3-year old who said, “No mommy, I didn’t break the glass.”

There are verbal and visual clues galore to assist you in your lie detection diagnostics. Whether you are buying or selling, it’s critical to accurately decipher between truth and dishonesty.

Prior to passing judgment of someone’s truth telling, engage your subject in casual conversation. This is known as conducting the baseline observation. You are observing their normal body language signals when engaged in a low stress situation. Following this step, you search for changes in their earlier relaxed signals.

How many Body Language Lie Detection Signals do you spot in the following situations?

SCENARIO #1

You consider leasing a car for the first time. You ask the car sales person if you can pay off a lease early without penalties. Before answering your question, they hesitate for 2-3 seconds; look up and to their right, then down to their right. Finally while looking you boldly in the eyes with a long unblinking stare they respond, “Uh, sure, yeah uh, no problem.”

SCENARIO #2

You easily hear and observe the sales person’s excitement about their newest product. Their breathing is shallow and rapid; their vocal pitch has risen since arriving at your office. They blink frequently as they lean forward to extol you with product factoids.

Now turn on the human lie detector skills. You’ve heard that the manufacturer is having challenges meeting delivery deadlines. You ask the sales person if their company can deliver the new equipment in 30-days. Their breathing grows more rapid, they stammer a little, their eyes open wider, the rapid blinking ceases, they scratch their nose, shake their head from side to side and say “yes, sure, absolutely, no doubt about it.”

SCENARIO #3

It’s time for a heart-to-heart with your teen-ager daughter about her disappointing college grades. You inquire about her study habits and plans for improvements in next semester’s performance.

Before responding, she attempts to moisten her lips as if parched, pulls one leg up under her into the chair, rubs her hands on her thighs, looks away into the distance and in an unusually slow and low raspy monotone voice she replies, “the plan for the next semester is to study more and party less.” Then she adds insistently, “Honestly Mom, I’m not lying. I’d never lie to you.”

Every example is jammed with signals that the speakers are lying. Some body language examples are thrown in for amplification. Most clues come oozing out. No matter how hard we try to control them, body language is hard wired in our brains. Learn the basic body language detection clues or face a lifetime of lies. Good lie detecting to you!

Mary Redmond is a negotiation expert that provides workshops, presentations and coaching for companies and organizations.  She is a well-known professional speaker, author and consultant that can help you achieve success.

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