How to Tell if Someone Is Lying, Part 3 - Consistency

How to Tell if Someone Is Lying, Part 3 - Consistency

If a person answers questions that weren't asked, this is a sign of possible deception. They also often demonstrate delayed reactions and facial expressions. If someone says "I'm so sad it happened!" but there's a delay in their expression of sadness, they are probably not being honest. Or, when someone receives a present they don't like, they often respond with "I love it!" and then a few seconds later, they smile and appear to look happy. Truthful emotions are spontaneous and instantaneous.

To become proficient at distinguishing lies, ask a person some neutral questions to establish a baseline. Watch their facial expressions and eye movements and observe patterns of shifts to the left, right, up, and down. Practiced liars usually keep as still as possible, though. Being overly controlled can work against you. I've often seen an animated customer service rep get up to a product explanation and become monotone. Spot a liar by looking for unnatural stiffness or stillness. The lack of appropriateness is a sign that the person is not being sincere.

When spoken words don't agree with the nonverbal messages, it's best to trust the nonverbal messages. When someone says nothing is wrong while sitting with arms wrapped tightly around the body and a scowl on their face, we doubt their sincerity. If a salesperson says "Sure, we can do that for you" while shaking his head no, he is uncertain about the answer. A liar can be identified by watching for lack of synchronicity. The subconscious reveals the truth. If the salesperson says, "This is a great contract," while rubbing the eyes, it doesn't look right; the ears, it doesn't sound right; or the nose, it stinks. Credibility comes when body language matches verbal language.

A smile is the most frequent facial expression used to mask emotions, often annoyance or anger. A genuine smile changes the entire face. The eyes light up, the forehead wrinkles, the eyebrows and cheek muscles rise, skin around the eyes and mouth crinkles, and the mouth turns up. With a fake smile, nothing moves but the corners of the mouth. There may, however, be some exceptions since the introduction of Botox.

These signals help you untangle deception and truth. A liar's timing tends to be out of sync between gestures or expressions and words. They also frequently give inconsistent explanations or over-emphasize details, focusing on obscure points instead of the real issue.

This article belongs to a four part series. By Don Townsend

Don Townsend is an Orlando entertainer that provides jaw dropping laugh out loud corporate entertainment with his astounding mentalist act.

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