How to Detect Lies From Impressions and Expressions When Negotiating

When negotiating, can you detect lies based on someone’s expressions, or the impression that they make on you? You’ve no doubt heard the expression, ‘he lied to me with a straight face’. There’s something to be said about someone keeping a ‘straight face’ when lying during a negotiation. The reason being, the body never lies. So, when someone is lying, the body will compensate for their untruthfulness by displaying ‘cover actions’.

‘Cover actions’ can be almost imperceptible nuances that occur when people lie, or they can also be exaggerated expressions.

Nothing succeeds like success. When a person becomes confident about his ability to lie in a negotiation, and he continuously gets away with it, he will continue to lie. In most cases, he will become emboldened to increase the intensity of his lies. Therein lies where you’ll have the opportunity to ‘catch’ him.

The way to detect and deter a liar is to observe the verbiage he uses during the negotiation, and observe his body language when you suspect him of lying. When lying …

  • People will tend to use phrases that make them feel comfortable. Take note of the ‘comfort phrases’ that a person uses and note the change that occurs when they alter such phrases. When change occurs, they could be in the process of entering into a lie, or fully engaged in it.
  • People will lie to make themselves appear to be more impressive or demur.  The lie will usually be accompanied with body language gestures that exemplify the stature of the liar. Such gestures may be observed as the individual raising his head higher, or thrusting his chin or chest forward when seeking to be perceived as being more impressive. A demur individual will tend to bow his head and present a less impressive image.
  • People will also lie to get out of tough situations. Such maneuverings will usually be accompanied with gestures that align their discomfort. Thus, they’ll tend to keep their arms close to their body. They’ll also tend to be more reflected, as they try to ‘keep their story on track’.

To enhance your efforts of catching a liar in his lie, switch subjects in the middle of his suspected lie. Change the subject to anything that’s unrelated to what he was discussing. After a few minutes, ask him to continue speaking about what he was discussing when you suspected he was lying. When he resumes the discussion, take note from where he continues, versus where he left off. Also, take note of the degree his demeanor has altered. In addition, you can ask questions that highlight slight differences in what he said (ex: If he said he drove a black car, restate what you heard as he drove a blue car). By slightly altering what you said he said, he’ll have to go into ‘recall’ mode, if he was lying. If he’s telling the truth, more than likely, he’ll say without hesitation, ‘oh no, it was a black car’.

In any situation, before you can discern if someone is lying, you have to establish his or her baseline. That means, you have to be aware of how they gesture and use verbiage in ‘normal’ environments. Then, as you seek to detect lies, note the differences between what is ‘normal’ to what becomes different from ‘normal’. Therein will lay the signal to delve deeper into what he is saying. Once you discover how to hone your skills to detecting liars, it will be increasingly difficult for someone to lie to you successfully … and everything will be right with the world.

The Negotiation Tips Are …

  • When you suspect a liar is lying, don’t be too quick to stop him. Observe the verbiage he uses and his body language. The more comfortable he becomes with his lies, the more lies he’ll tell. In so doing, he’ll give you greater insight into how he lies and why he lies. Then, you’ll know what to look for when you suspect he’s lying.
  • If you’re astute at reading body language during a negotiation, you can pick up on nonverbal signals and detect a liar’s lie before he gets too deeply into it. In so doing, you will decrease the probability of being deceived.
  • People lie because they’re seeking something they need at the time of the lie. In a negotiation, if you understand the need, you’ll understand the source of the lie. From that perspective, you can address it.
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