How people speak and what they say provide important clues about honesty. A change in voice can indicate deception, but also pay attention to a person's speech rate and breathing patterns. If either speeds up or slows down, chances are you're not hearing the truth. Pausing, throat clearing, or other stalling techniques may also indicate that a person is lying; liars need time to create their stories, while the truth usually rolls right out.
Liars frequently avoid exclusionary words like "but," "nor," "except," and "whereas." They are also less likely to use the words "I," "me," and "mine." Using fewer personal pronouns is an effort to distance themselves psychologically from their lie. Changes in a person"s baseline or normal conduct should raise a red flag. Examine the rate of speech, tone of voice, posture, and hand gestures against what you know is typical, along with the context of the situation. When people are trying to avoid telling the truth, they often pick some obscure point and talk about it a lot instead of focusing on the main issue.
Liars tend to be more derogatory because on a subconscious level, they feel guilty about lying. Forensic interrogators look for the use of contractions (e.g., isn't, doesn't, weren't), as they are usually used by people telling the truth, whereas people who say is not, does not, were not, etc. are often lying. Bill Clinton provides a perfect example of this when he said, "I did not have sexual relations with that woman."
Another method commonly used by police is to change the subject. The change will be welcomed by a person who has been lying and they visibly relax. A person who has been telling the truth usually finds the change of topic puzzling and attempts to return to the original subject.
Long, detailed answers to simple questions may also indicate a lie. It's as if the detail is supposed to be convincing.
Have you ever been pitched by a super -smooth salesperson? When these types over-enthusiastically praise a product, smart consumers usually look elsewhere, recognizing when something sounds too good, or the salesman too confident.
Look and listen for anything that doesn't sound normal. Paralanguage (which includes things like voice, tone, volume, and rate) that sounds overly smooth or overacted triggers alarms at the subconscious level. Go with your gut impression; instincts are smart. Normal levels of confidence, however, are read as sincere.
Unless they're professional actors or pathological, liars tend to stutter or hesitate when speaking, and they often provide additional information without being asked. They also have a habit of repeating questions or words in a question when lying in response. If you believe someone is lying, change the subject quickly. A liar will follow along willingly, while an innocent person may be confused by the sudden change in topic and will try to resolve to the previous subject.
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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