The Truth About Lying
Some people can't tell a lie, others can't tell the truth and unfortunately, most people can't tell the difference. Can you tell when someone is pulling the wool
over your eyes? Whether you're an attorney selecting a jury,a manager interviewing a new agent or
a salesperson making a presentation, your ability to quickly and
accurately discern the truth greatly enhances your effectiveness.
Fortunately, having the ability to sort fact from fiction is an
important communication skill that can be learned.
Aside from con men, compulsive liars and some
politicians, most people become uncomfortable when telling a lie and
transmit their deceitful behavior through their body language. While
they may sound convincing, their gestures speak louder than their
words. Consequently, they reveal their deceit nonverbally. While it's not always easy to spot deceptive behavior, there are many subtle
yet discernable clues to the trained eye.
Body language is a mixture of movement,
posture and tone of voice. Studies show that nonverbal communication
has a much greater impact and reliability than the spoken word.
Therefore, if a person's words are incongruent with his or her body language gestures, you
would be wise to rely on the body language as a more accurate
reflection of their true feelings. During the selling process it's important to remember that body language is not a one-way street.
While you're evaluating your prospect's body language for signs of honesty and credibility, he or she is
subconsciously observing and reacting to your gestures as well.
People Can't Handle the Truth: The truth sometimes hurts and few business or
personal relationships could survive the harsh reality of total
honesty. While honesty is certainly the best policy, the truth is,
that in our day-to-day encounters, it's not always diplomatic or socially acceptable to be completely
honest. To spare the feelings of others, we have learned the
usefulness of telling half-truths, fibs and white lies.
During the selling process, some people have
difficulty saying “no” and will actually tell you that they are
interested in order to avoid potential conflict. As the pressure of
making a decision builds, prospects will frequently use half-truths or
lies to either stall or disengage from the selling sequence. While
their words say “yes,” their body language indicates “no.” By
being able to recognize the inconsistency between your prospect's words and his or her gestures, it is often possible to flush out
their concerns, overcome their objections and make the sale.
Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil: Eye, nose and mouth movement,
along with hand gestures, are the four major nonverbal cues typically
associated with lying. The statue of the Three Wise Monkeys accurately
depicts the primary hand-to-face gestures associated with deceit. When
a person is doubtful or lying, they'll often use their fingers to block their mouth as if they were
filtering their words. This hand- to-mouth gesture is commonly
referred to as “speak no evil.” The second hand gesture associated
with deceit is called “see no evil,” and it occurs when a person
rubs or touches his or her eye(s). The third hand gesture “hear no
evil” is displayed when a person covers or drills a finger into his
or her ear(s).
If people use one of these gestures while they're talking, it indicates that they are being deceitful. On the other
hand, if they are displaying one of these gestures while someone else
is talking it indicates that they doubt the truthfulness of what is
being said. These three gestures should be considered red flags. When
you encounter one of these gestures during your presentation, it is a
good idea to gently probe the subject matter with open-ended questions
to encourage your prospect to voice his or her concern.
In addition to the three hand-to-face
gestures, eye movement is another reliable indication of deceit. It's normal for a person to look up to his or her left when thinking
about the past and up to the right when thinking about the future. If
you ask a person a question from his or her past and they look up to
their right, they're making up a response. Law enforcement personnel and customs agents
are trained to routinely monitor eye movement during interviews.
Gestures: According to Paul Ekman, professor of psychology at the University
of California, San Francisco, two of the most common micro gestures that are associated with
deceit are the nose wrinkle and the mouth curl. The nose wrinkle is
the same gesture that occurs naturally when you smell something
offensive. The other facial micro gesture is a slight downward curl of
the corners of the mouth. Even liars who make a conscious effort to
suppress all of their major body gestures, will still transmit micro
gestures. People sometimes lie, but their body language always tells
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