How to Detect A Lie

January 24, 2018 0 Comments

Everybody lies.

That’s just a fact. And, although not all lies are as serious as others, in a work environment they can deteriorate trust and weaken relationships.

So, how do you detect lies?

More importantly, how do you respond to lies to mitigate conflict and get back on the right foot?

There are certain behavioral and body language cues you can be aware of when it comes to detecting a lie. Pay attention to how people react verbally and non-verbally when you think you may be subjected to a lie.


They Can Barely Speak.

Have you ever been put into a situation where you are simply speechless? For one reason or another, you can’t seem to find the words to answer a question or express yourself.

This is often a telltale sign of some sort of fibbing. When stress enters the body, the nervous system reacts by shutting down salivary flow, making it practically impossible to speak.


They Give Too Much Information.

A famous line from Shakespeare’s Hamlet reads, “the lady doth protest too much.” What he meant by this was, for someone who claims innocence, you are a bit too explanatory and defensive of your truth.

Those who lie often feel the need to overcompensate by supplying unnecessary, frivolous details that are meant to give the impression of sincerity. Unfortunately, this tactic often has a total adverse effect.

If you notice someone giving you too many details (that you didn’t even ask for), they may be trying to confuse or avert your attention from the truth of the matter.


They Are Repetitive.

When someone is persistent in repeating a word, phrase or storyline, it’s likely because they are trying not only to convince you of their “truth” but also themselves.

Repetition can also be a strategy one uses to gather their thoughts and give themselves more time to come up with their defense.


They Cover “Vulnerable” Body Parts.

They might place their hand on the throat, chest, neck, head or stomach. This is an instinctual behavior used as a means of protection. For the most part, people aren’t even aware they’re doing it, but as an onlooker it is very noticeable, if you know what to look for.

If you think someone is lying, check their body language. Which leads up to…

They Stop Making Eye Contact.

People who lie are often unable to look you directly in the eye as they do so. This is a common reaction when telling a lie.

However, this is also a widely-known fact and some “liars” may take it a step further by maintaining above-average eye contact. Sounds strange, but it is yet another strategy for overcompensating.

Lies are most prevalent in workplaces where there is no trust — does your team trust you?

Check out these articles to help you improve workplace communications and foster a solid foundation of trust in your teams:

The Importance of Highlighting Honesty in the Workplace

6 Words to Avoid for Better Workplace Communication


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How to Detect A Lie
Lies shake the foundation of a team. But if you have wondered how to detect if a coworker is lying, here are some tips to remember if you have a suspicion.

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