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3 Insider Keys to "How to Spot A Liar"

By |June 27, 2016

I taped a video for Business Insider entitled “How To Spot A Liar”.  Here are some insider keys to getting more out of this video.

Lying vs. Poor Planning

What’s the benefit? There’s a double benefit to living by the rule: “Yes” is nothing without “how”.  Whether they’re lying about doing something or they are just poor planners, the result is the same – things aren’t going to happen.  You don’t have to be good at picking up the myriad ways people lie when you focus on “how”.  Believe me there are no shortage of ways people lie.  

The video below from the Jimmy Kimmel Live show called “Lie Witness News” illustrates that though there are commonalities to lying, each person lies a little differently and sometimes uses several “tells” during the course of uttering multiple lies.  You can absolutely exhaust yourself trying to keep up on all of this, or you can focus on “how” and actually move your negotiations forward.

Double up on your “how’s”. Back up your first “how” with a second “how”.

The Hidden Gold Mines In Body Language

Where do you find the most unguarded body language? The real gold mine source for unguarded body language is with the people who are the “wingmen” of your primary negotiation counterpart.  In this Business Insider video, the second thing I go into is the 7:38:55 ratio.   The hypothesis here is that a message is carried at a relative weight of 7% content, 38% delivery, and 55% body language.   Regardless of what you think of this specific ratio – body language is a great source of information about your counterpart’s veracity.

What I don’t go into is how unguarded the body language of the “wingmen” (or other teammates on the other side) will be when your gaze is fixed on their primary negotiator.  Have your wingmen discreetly watch their wingmen, you’ll be stunned at what you pick up.  

There’s a great story about a business merger in the Netherlands.  At the late stages of the merger, junior employees were brought in to simply watch the negotiations, yet play no active role.  Some of the junior employees noticed that whenever a particular clause was brought up someone on the other side would cough discreetly (clearly it wasn’t their primary negotiator).  The junior employees brought this up in team huddles away from the table.  They ended up going back and reexamining the clause, found it was an overlooked issue, and reopened it.

What To Do When The “Yes” Sounds Hesitant

What should you do when a “yes” sounds hesitant? Just label it.  With a gentle or deferential tone of voice.  Tone of voice is always important to make sure your message hits its mark.

Tone of voice is like the rifling in a gun – the grooves in the barrel of a gun that spin the projectile (bullet) so it will fly accurately and hit its mark.  Without proper rifling, the bullet starts to tumble as soon as it leaves the barrel of the gun and will become inaccurate.

“You sound a little hesitant….”

“That ‘yes’ sounds a little hesitant?”

“It sounds like there is something else on your mind…”

This is the difference between bringing something to light in a non-threatening way and cornering someone.  Cornering them just makes them regret they let anything out.


What The Problem Is

The problem is, they know on some level they’ve expressed some concern.  They are actually hoping you pick up on it and bring it to light in a way that doesn’t embarrass them or slap them in the face.  When you can successfully bring things out like this it encourages them to cooperate with you when problems arise.  Reward their trust. And you make better deals!

To sum up:

  1. Double up on your “how’s”
  2. Observe the body language of the “wingmen”
  3. Label hesitancy

Make it rain!

Get more prepared for your next negotiation.