Tips For Green Businessman: How Easy To Determine That A Colleague Is Lying To You?

Tips For Green Businessman

Every psychologist has heard about Paul Ekman’s revolutionary works in lie detection. As of today, micro expression training is available not only to security services but to anyone who is interested. Apparently, practising psychologists will only benefit from this skill. On the other hand, the question still stands: is it easy to determine when a person is lying to you? Paradoxically, the answer is both yes and no. While it is possible to point out several clues that may indicate deception, there are plenty of precise details that play a huge part in a person’s behaviour. Here are some tricky parts you will have to pay especial attention to:

Eye contact

Eye contact

There is a widespread misconception that a liar will not maintain eye contact. While in some cases it may be true, Ekman warns that a pre-calculated deception is usually served right in the opponent’s eye. A liar who has already come up with a solid story wants to keep an eye on the conversation partner — only because he wants to know if the deception target is buying it. So, here’s the first challenge of an eye contact as a potential lie indicator.

Another common difficulty is the conversation topic. If it’s in any way embarrassing, causes painful memories or is merely awkward, chances are, there will be no eye contact during the conversation. This, however, does not mean that a person is necessarily lying.

Manipulators versus emotions

Manipulators versus emotions

In poker, people call it a ‘tell.’ Ekman refers to excessive gestures as ‘manipulators’. No matter how you call them, unnecessary movements can be deception indicators. Scratching a nose, an ear, playing with hair — all of those seemingly innocent gestures can act as a subconscious attempt to mask a lie. On the other hand, the same movements can be a sign of genuine anxiety — and this feeling does not always come from telling a lie. One more thing to watch out for is hand gestures. When presenting a story where something actually happens, most people who are telling the truth usually support their narration with extra movements (i.e., showing direction, size, etc.) In other words, supporting gestures can be a proof of truth, too.

Details as a part of the picture

Details as a part of the picture

Most of the time, a story with too many details — especially, if all of them are carefully lined up in chronological order — is the kind of story people rehearsed before. Once again, it can point to a pre-calculated deception. On the other hand, you can never be sure of a person’s motives to replay the situation in one’s head. PTS patients, in particular, can sometimes recall the tiniest details of their traumatic experiences. If however, you are asking an unexpected question and hear a carefully structured answer, this is usually an alarming sign.


Catching the inconsistencies

Catching the inconsistencies

Inconsistencies are the surest way to spot a lie. Here, the focus should be not only on the details of the story — life is full of things that hardly make any sense at all — but also on the way the narrator supports his verbal storyline with the non-verbal one. According to Ekman, most people who haven’t had any specialised deception training, subconsciously nod or shake their head when telling the truth or lying (respectively, of course). So, unless you are dealing with a secret agent or a diagnosed psychopath, the discrepancy between words and gestures is a clear lie indicator. Speaking of psychopaths, there is absolutely no way to tell a lie from the truth — not even for Paul Ekman himself. This, however, is one of the professional challenges many psychology practitioners come across, one day or another.

Fake versus sincere emotions

Fake versus sincere emotions

Faking emotions are incredibly tight — next to impossible without specialised training. So, any inconsistencies between words and displayed feelings are another indicator of deception. Here, however, a degree in psychology is not always enough. According to Ekman studies, there’s less than 1% of Earth’s population that can spot a lie without training. The scientist refers to them as ‘truth wizards’, and being one of them is a challenging gift. On the other hand, the rest 99% can be taught to recognise lies. There are dozens of books and even software programs that can teach you to identify emotions. Genuine smile, for example, will always cause little wrinkles around a person’s eyes — even if for a fraction of a second; sadness and surprise are very much alike, and many people tend to confuse them (in both cases eyebrows are elevated); watching out for lip movements can tell a difference between frustration and contempt, etc.

On the whole, there are plenty of signs that can help to pinpoint a lie. On the other hand, there are just as many details that can make a truth seem like a lie. Bottom line, the beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Whether you choose to believe the colleague or not is something you have to figure out for yourself. Professionally speaking, taking a believing stance is an ethical thing to do. After all, the majority of colleagues will think twice before lying to you. This is a plus for them, as they will get rid of a bad habit to lie, and for you, as you review the list of your employees and perhaps friends that will allow you to be successful and achieve more in your business. This is because an honest personnel is one of the most important components of a successful business.

Lying or not, but thorough planning might help you a lot. If you are green in this too check the list of the best professional business planning services. You may find some good tips and tricks in there.