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The Truth About Lying

by John Boe

When a person's words are inconsistent with his or her body language, on which should you rely? Although written primarily for salespeople, the advice given here is highly relevant to all interpersonal dealings in business—and even your social life.

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 non-verbally. 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 non-verbal 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 his or her body language as a more accurate reflection of their true feelings.

During the selling process it is important to remember that body language is not a one-way street. While you are 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.

Some 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 is 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.

See no evil—hear no evil—speak no evil

Eye, nose and mouth movement, along with hand gestures, are the four major non-verbal cues typically associated with lying.

The statue of the Three Wise Monkeys accurately depicts the primary hand-to-face gestures associated with deceit.

When people are doubtful or lying, they will 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 people rub or touch their eye(s).

The third hand gesture, "hear no evil", is displayed when people cover their ear(s) or drill their finger into their ear as if they were blocking the conversation.

If people use one of these gestures while they are 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 is normal for a person to look up to the left when thinking about the past and up to the right when thinking about the future. For example, if you ask someone the color of their first car, or some other question from their past, they will look up to their left to access their memory.

If instead they look up to their right, they are thinking of the future, which indicates that they are likely making up a response. Law enforcement personnel and customs agents are trained to routinely monitor eye movement during interviews.

Micro 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 the truth!

John Boe is recognized as one of the nation's top sales trainers and motivational speakers. He helps companies recruit, train, and motivate salespeople to achieve peak performance. John is a leading authority on body language and temperament styles and his website contains valuable information on these issues as they relate to sales training. To have John speak at your next event, visit his site or call (831)375-3668.


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Tuesday, 20 Mar 2018 03:40 AM


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