The idea is not to look for neurological tics, but rather linguistic tics. (Photo: Drew Hayes for Unsplash)
Damn job! The section where Olivier Schmucker answers your most interesting questions [et les plus pertinentes] About the modern business world… and of course its shortcomings. Appointment to read Tuesday And the Thursday. Would you like to participate? Send us your question to [email protected]
Question: “I have an unfortunate feeling that one of my team members often lies to my face. But I can’t figure out what he really is: he always has the answer to everything, even if sometimes it’s a bit elusive. How can I know once and for all If the hero is a liar, or if I am highly doubtful? -Zechariah
A: Dear Zakaria, exposing a liar is never an easy matter, especially since it is easy to make a mistake. This is a risky practice, and can have dire consequences in the event of a mistake on the part of the person trying to see clearly: accusing someone of being a liar when there is none can be enough to spoil the atmosphere within the country. The work team, and considering a person who lies compulsively as a good person can be disastrous for the team and its performance.
However, there are tips to recognize a liar. These tips aren’t infallible, but they can help you see the truth in someone’s words, or even get the wrongdoer to admit they’re lying. It comes from a book called “Mind Reader” and is signed by David Lieberman, an American psychologist who became an expert in lying to the point of advising on the subject, among others, professional investigators from the FBI, CIA and NSA.
David Lieberman’s first advice is not to try to detect physical signs that would betray the essence of your interlocutor’s thoughts. Especially if you are not a professional investigator. You know, those little subconscious gestures like scratching your nose at the exact moment when you’re lying down like pulling teeth, or like avoiding the other person’s gaze when you’re caught up in your lie.
“There are two reasons for this,” he explains. First, because compulsive liars know these little signs and stop themselves from sending them to the person they are lying to. Then, because it’s very easy to misinterpret it: if you have an honest person in front of you, but you’re anxious just because they feel like people are trying to figure out if they’re lying, they’re going to unconsciously send you a lot of these signs like scratching the back of the neck or having shivers. Simple nervousness.
It is better, in fact, to focus not on the “how,” but on the “what.” This means the way the liar expresses himself and his statements. “Because lying requires much more mental energy than telling the truth,” says David Lieberman. Which prompts the liar to unconsciously resort to language shortcuts that allow him to avoid having to think deeply, and to rely on his mental energy too much.
Three simple, yet effective tips can help you see the red flag rising when your interviewer is lying face down:
-The liar loves papacy and philosophy. Any preachy statement that expresses a feeling of fairness or justice may be a sign of lying. Pay attention to phrases like “it doesn’t have to be this way” and “we’ve never worked this way before.” Because they betray the unconscious desire to justify oneself, even if only to itself. “No one considers themselves a bad guy,” explains David Lieberman. Even a bad man considers himself, deep down, a good man who did a bad thing.
The liar uses self-referential statements. These phrases occur when a person refers to what he said or wrote with phrases such as “as I have previously stated” and “as I have previously explained.” It is often used by a liar because it prevents him from giving incorrect information and from being complicit in his own lie. It allows him to keep the story simple and clear, thus saving his mental energy or, as the author likes to say, “lightening his cognitive load.”
A liar happily relies on simplicity. Honest statements often have complex sentence structures, with prepositions such as “except,” “without,” “but,” and “aside.” Because the person wants to be accurate, to “prove,” if you will, that what he or she says is true. On the other hand, a liar has a reaction based on simple sentences, without much detail and information. Because his brain is already expending so much energy developing and maintaining his lie, that he won’t try to expend more adding a bunch of details that would likely essentially expose the rose pot.
But note an important point: a liar can use complex terms, or even launch into sentences full of details, but then you will notice that these terms and these details are completely insignificant, and even useless; His idea then is to overwhelm the fish with lots of details that his mind shouldn’t worry too much about (if you come back to it later, it’s very likely that the liar doesn’t even remember this or that detail introduced, however, barely five minutes ago!).
There you go, Zechariah. Focus on language tics, not neurological tics. This should let you know if your colleague is a complete liar or not.
By the way, the Persian poet Abu al-Qasim al-Firdawsi said in “The Book of Kings”: “Lying is the work of the weak.”
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