We would all like to avoid that sinking feeling you get when you realize that you believed a lie someone has told you. As helpful as this would be for avoiding hurt feelings and broken relationships, in the business world a single lie could mean the difference between the success and failure of a business--so it's essential to learn how to tell when someone is trying to deceive you.

Great business owners develop almost a sixth sense for determining when they are being lied to. They have to make quick decisions about who to hire, fire, partner with and offer contracts to, and if they believe lies from the wrong people it could have a devastating impact on the business.

  1. They touch their face, mouth or throat. This subconscious body language may indicate that someone is lying to you. If you notice someone touching their face who normally doesn't, it is a little red flag to keep in the back of your mind.
  2. They repeat themselves. If someone begins to stammer, repeating words or phrases, it is a sign that they are trying to think of what to say next. This may indicate that they are concocting a story to tell. Again, compare their nervous speech to their normal speech. Some people always stammer, so for them it would be a normal part of speech, not an indication of dishonesty.
  3. They pause before answering. A long or abnormal pause before someone answers a question may be a tip-off that they are lying. This is especially true if the answer should be simple and obvious. A pause before answering a seemingly easy question may mean that they are trying to keep track of what they've already said and how to keep the lie going.
  4. They look toward the door. Subconsciously, we look where we want to go, someone who is uncomfortable may look toward a door, or at the minimum break eye contact with you when they are lying. Others may look at their watch, signalling their desire to not spend more time in the conversation.
  5. They don't blink. Some avid liars have learned to telegraph confidence, so instead of breaking eye contact, they will stare at you and not blink. If it seems like their eye contact is too intense, it may be a sign they are trying to cover up their nervousness.

You may not have an intuitive sense of another person's trustworthiness, but you can learn to notice details that will tip you off to dishonesty.

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