“Detect Deceitful Lies – This Is How To Through Body Language” – Negotiation Insight

“To detect deceit through someone’s body language, you must know what they’re body language is saying.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert (click to Tweet)

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“Detect Deceitful Lies – This Is How To Through Body Language”

People don’t realize they’re always negotiating.

Everybody lies several times a day. It occurs through omission, not disclosing the full truth, and commission, the willful intent to misrepresent the truth. And while some lies are less harmful than others, the deceitful ones can leave you in a world of hurt. It’s the latter, more so than the former, that you should seek protection. Possessing the ability to detect deceitful lies by reading someone’s body language is a skill that’ll shield you from what would harm you emotionally and financially. The following are body language signals that you must be aware of to gain that protection.

Category of Lies

White Lies

White lies are lies stated that don’t possess intended malice. Someone pronounces them with the intent to avoid harming someone’s feelings (e.g., no – you don’t look like you’ve gained weight). This type of lie may not have the intent of harm, but you can learn something about the person’s body language that presents them.

Dark Lies

Dark lies are lies told to manipulate another person by inflicting them with malice. And that’s the reason to note this form of a lie from the white lie. It possesses the ability to cause more significant harm.     

Either lie’s form possesses valuable information you can gain from the person emitting them. And per reading someone’s body language, that’s why you should note how and when they make their pronouncements. You’ll use that as your foundation to base additional body language gestures they make to detect when they may be lying in other situations.  

Establishing Body Language Foundation

Before you can become accurate at detecting someone’s body language, you must know how they use their gestures in different situations. Thus, you’d observe the pace of their speech, the gestures they make, and how at-ease they appear in typical environments, whatever that is for them. You should also note how they respond when you sense they’re telling white versus dark lies during such times. That will establish your baseline from which to compare their actions later. As a note, if you’re assessing someone’s truthfulness without having established their baseline, compare their movements to what other people display in such situations. The point is, you must have something to compare their actions.

Body Language Gestures

Body Movement

As alluded, there’s a wealth of information to be gleaned from someone’s body language. Please take note of the following signals, in particular, for the value they add to detecting the deceitful intent of someone’s lies.

Head Movement

When someone knows they’re telling lies in stressful situations, a liar will have controlled head movement. That’s to say, to the degree they feel less threatened, their head may jaunt out slightly as they speak. If they become more suspect of their lies believability, they may begin to lean back, moving their head and shoulders in that direction.


Someone’s shoulder movement allows excellent insight into their inner thoughts and feelings. Thus, when they’re lying, they may tend to keep their shoulders slightly elevated. The degree of elevation that exists can be the level in the truth they’re telling. That’s because people use their shoulders as a spontaneous form of protecting themselves.    


Hand movements can also be another great indicator of someone’s truthfulness. You may have observed – when someone seeks to convince you that they’re sincere, truthful, they’ll place a hand(s) close to their heart. They’ll also touch themselves in the chest area to send that signal.

While it can be a sincerity signal, people knowledgeable about body language use can cast false expressions of the truth with this gesture. One thing to note is the timing of this and all gestures you assess. A motion will tend to occur slightly before the pronouncement of the words that follow them. Thus, if you continuously observe that’s not the case, heighten your suspension about the person’s truthfulness. Deceit may be at hand (no pun intended).


While someone can lie from multiple body language positions, you should also observe their feet for signals they’re emitting. For example, if someone begins to point their foot in a direction from where it was previously, timed with when they may have begun to lie, it could be a sign that they wish to exit the environment. The gesture may signal that the person is starting to feel uncomfortable about his deceitfulness. When possible, observe someone’s foot movement and allow it to also serve as a barometer as to the inner emotions someone is experiencing as the result of their lies.

Covering Mouth

When someone speaks, note when they cover their mouth. A person lying can display the gesture with a hand or a finger. The display is an unconscious intent to keep the lying words from being spoken. Thus, if you note when the act occurs, based on what someone is saying, you’ll gain insight into the truthfulness of someone’s words.

Altering Pace of Speech and Breathing

Another clue from which to gain insight about someone’s intent at deception is the alteration of their speech and breathing. People speak at a pace that’s comfortable for them. When their words create discomfort due to lying, they tend to alter that pace – it may become faster or slower. Their breathing will most likely change too. Once again, observe when this occurs. Note mostly what the person was saying at the time the action commenced. They’ll be a tell in their speech delivery.


There’s a wealth of information you can gather about someone’s lying efforts to be deceitful. That information exists in their body language. Once you become astute at detecting the signals mentioned, you’ll be less likely to fall prey to someone’s manipulation through their deceitful lies. The enhancement of your body language abilities will be the tool that shields you from such efforts. And everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating!

Listen to Greg’s podcast at https://c-suitenetwork.com/radio/shows/greg-williams-the-master-negotiator-and-body-language-expert-podcast/

After reading this article, what are you thinking? I’d like to know. Reach me at Greg@TheMasterNegotiator.com

To receive Greg’s free “Negotiation Tip of the Week” and the “Negotiation Insight,” click here https://themasternegotiator.com/greg-williams/

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