Less than 5% of the population are natural liars…..performers who lie flawlessly and make no mistakes. Research shows that the majority of people are fooled by liars. It happens too often; those slippery snakes strike when you least expect it. By the time you realize you’ve been bitten, it’s too late. So, what can you look for in order to detect that deception? Here are some clues:
Always remember – there are two reasons why someone lies. 1) They are protecting themselves, or 2) they are protecting someone else.
- Usually, the single biggest giveaway is inconsistencies in the lie. Ask questions when inconsistencies start to pop up in a story. Most people fall victim to liars because they don’t want to act suspicious or don’t think they have a right to ask questions.
- Watch for changes in patterns of speech. For example, the person might have to pause and think more often than usual to answer a simple question.
- Liars often supply you with additional information without being asked. They also over-emphasize details. The dishonest person usually remembers more detail because they are trying to remember their story or explanation.
- Sometimes the liar’s giveaway is a micro-expression. Micro-expressions are facial expressions that flash on a person’s face for a fraction of a second and reveal the person’s true emotion, underneath the lie. Typically, a liar’s micro-expression will show distress, characterized by the eyebrows being drawn upwards toward the middle of the forehead, causing short lines to appear across the forehead.
- Unless they are really good actors, liars tend to stutter or hesitate when they are speaking. Often times, fidgeting accompanies all that stammering.
- Too much or too little eye contact. For example, children have a tendency to look away when they fib to Mommy or Daddy.
- People who are lying tend to talk slowly. Their statements aren’t spontaneous. They speak in shorter sentences than usual. They realize that the more they talk, the more likely they are to slip up on their story.
- Watch for nose touching and mouth covering. People tend to touch their nose frequently when lying and a lot less when telling the truth. A liar is more likely to cover his or her mouth with a hand or place a hand near the mouth, almost as if to camouflage the lies pouring out. Also, be wary of pursed lips.
- If you believe someone is lying, try changing the subject of the conversation quickly. A liar will follow along with you willingly, whereas an honest, truthful person might be confused by the sudden change in topics and will try to return to the previous subject.
It should be noted, however, that some of these signals can appear in someone who is not lying. The person might simply be uncomfortable – either about saying something or about saying to a particular person.
What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School;
Notes From A Street-Smart Executive, Mark McCormack
Telling Lies, Dr. Paul Ekman
Silent Messages, Albert Mehrabian, Ph.D., UCLA