Become a Human Lie Detector

Truth%20Lies%20Wallpaper__yvt2Have you ever had your intuition tell you that someone is lying?  You know something is off, but you can’t put your finger on it.  Do you wish you had a polygraph on some people so you could just find out what’s really going on and what the REAL truth is? Don’t you just wish you were a human lie detector?

Congratulations.  I can help you. I can give you some pointers that will give you insight into the environment of false reality that people are trying to create around you.   First you must be able to tell when people are displaying signs of deception.  Each one by itself doesn’t necessarily mean that someone is lying.  Each one may be an odd coincidence.   Although when they executed more than one at a time, they are called clusters of deception.

What YOU must do before you can determine if someone is lying

  • You must manage your biases or you will get beaten
  • Think of yourself as a human vacuum cleaner sucking in as much information as possible
  • Manage the flow of data coming at you by filtering extraneous data
  • Ignore truthful behavior. Remember you are only going to sink your heels into deception
  • Remember that there is only a casual difference between behavior and logic

Deceptive behavior and traits of dishonesty

  • Creating a halo effect, trying to prove they are mommy’s little angel
  • Inappropriate level of politeness. “That’s a great shirt.” When we like someone we are more inclined to believe them and shy away from confrontation
  • Inappropriate level of concern.  They really just want to know what’s going on and what you know
  • Diminishing the importance of an issue.  “Why is everyone so worried about that anyway?”
  • Invoking religion, especial when they bring it up and you’ve never heard them say a word about it before hand
  • Unable to answer directly.  “Did you do it?” “I’d never do something like that.”
  • Covering a lie.  Watch their hand covering their mouth.   Also they will often cover their eyes because they can’t bear the thought of seeing your reaction to the whooper they just told you
  • Anchor point movement.  This is why detectives put suspects in a wobbly chair that leans back and has wheels
  • Grooming gestures.  Watch the hands to hair, eyebrows, chin, and clothes.  Grooming gestures can also mean they will try straightening up their surroundings, such as paper on a desk or table
  • Referral statements. “Like I said before” or “Like I told so and so”
  • Exclusion qualifier.  “All I can tell you is…”  That may be all they can tell you but not all they know

Your job is not to COLD bust someone when you think they are lying.  Your job is to solicit cooperation. So if someone lies to you, don’t re-ask the same question.  You may think you are encouraging them to own up to it, but it only causes the person to engrain the lie in their mind.  The more times they tell the lie the easier it gets to tell it.

Questions to probe for the truth

  • Punishment question. “What do you think should happen to the person who took it?”  If they know something they may recommend a light punishment
  • Accusation question. “Is there any reason anyone would accuse you of doing it?”
  • Possibility question. “I know it was a while ago but is there a possibility you where anywhere around when it happened?”
  • Possibility follow-up.  “What can you tell me about that day?”
  • Involvement question.  “What involvement did you have in….?”
  • Circumstance question.  “Under what circumstance would you cut corners?”
  • Payment question. “As a sign of good faith, will you pay for the missing money out of your pocket?”
  • There to here.  “Earlier you said ____.  How did you get from there to here?
  • Mind virus.  “When I ask around, will anyone tell me anything to insinuate you were involved?”
  • Catch all.  “What haven’t I asked that you think I should know?

Keep in mind you aren’t out to accuse everyone of lying.  You just want to be aware of the environment of deception that is being created by the people around you.  To be clear on what’s happening and what is the truth, you must ignore the truth and pay attention to the CLUSTERS of deceptive behavior to find the truth.

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  1. I guess I should click the “like” button on this as it has really got me thinking, but I have to be honest. As a leader, I don’t want to engage in this. I want to trust those that are on my team. I don’t want to be trying to catch them in a lie. My thoughts are very different about this subject. If someone lies it will eventually come out. If I know someone has lied to me, I lose trust in that individual. If I lose trust in someone that works for me, it would probably be better if they worked for someone else. So I will continue to enter into all leadership relationships fully connected and willing to trust. I just won’t sustain relationships that do not allow for this.

  2. Ian, thanks for your comments. You make some really good points. I do however feel, I should clarify some of my thinking. Your inner circle of people that you trust should never be treated in ways that will make them feel untrusted. When they feel untrusted, they will stop trusting. The key is when you manage extremely large groups of people and not familiar with their habits and motives to find out what they are.

    It’s like a family. You should trust your spouse and treat them with trust. However, if your kids are displaying deceptive behaviors you should be able to identify them and not just wait for them to run with the slack until they have enough to hang themselves. Correct it as you see it before it gets out of hand.

  3. Another great post Cranston, I find myself enjoying just about everything you publish. Life would be great if our world was made with gumdrop paths, and everyone told the truth all of the time, but this fantasy land does not exist. I liked your tips, it’s important to know when people under your leadership are lying to you, and at some point this WILL happen.

    I guess I’m a pessimist in the fact that I think it will happen inevitably, regardless of how well you lead, or the trusting and accepting environment you create. I think it is always a good idea to have a little skepticism in the back of your mind, even with your most trusted employees, it keeps your brain sharp, and keeps you from being walked on.

  4. Thanks so much Josh. I REALLY appreciate the kind words. You’re not lying about any of it are you? ha ha Just kidding.

    I don’t think you are a pessimist at all. The more familiar you are with a subject the easier you are able to identify it and purge it from your personal environment.

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