Lie Spotting Checklist

Here's a short list of things to look for when lie spotting

Lie Spotting Checklist.  You don’t have to be a professional lie spotter to take advantage of The Lie Spotting Checklist.  Let’s talk about some things to look for.

When I was a little kid I used to believe everything I read and heard about Body Language and lying.  If someone said “That person is lying because they ABCD’d” I would put that in my toolkit and to me it was a fact.  Lie spotting seamed simple and easy.

I soon found there was nothing more people disliked than being called a liar. 

Especially when they weren’t lying.

It wasn’t until my parents sat me down and my father said “Just because someone does something you read in a book or saw on TV when you ask them a question, it doesn’t mean for sure they’re lying.  Think about it like this;  Maybe, just maybe, you asked them a question that made them uncomfortable.  And not because they didn’t want to tell you the truth.  Maybe the did tell you the truth.  Maybe they’ve had a bad experience with a similar situation.  Maybe it was the way you asked the question.”

And then my Mother said “You never know what someone is going through at home.  They may have something completely different on their mind that is much more important to them than your question.”

That was great advice. 

I’ve kept it in the forefront of my thought process when decoding behavior to this day.  It’s important you keep that in mind as well as you read on.  So here we go…

The Lie Spotting Checklist is no particular order. 

Any of these could happen at any time before or after the answer.  Or they may not happen at all.  The time to really focus is just before the answer until 4 to 7 seconds afterwards.  You must be patient.  

When asking a question:

#1- The person moves just slightly away from you.  Their entire body may move back an entire step if they are talking to a group and not into a microphone.  If it’s just you and the person, they may sway slightly away from you as they answer.  Or settle back on their hip just a bit.

#2- They answer too quickly.  They may start answering when you haven’t even finished the question.  At times this may be subtle.  So heads up.

#3- The quick shoulders shoulder and single shoulder shrug is important.  It doesn’t always suggest dishonesty, but it does suggest being unsure of the answer.  So more tactical questioning on your part may be in order.

#4- Before answering they may say things like “Well”, “Alright”, or “Okay, well…”.  These usually suggest the person is fighting for time to think.  It’s only a second or less, but that’s plenty of time for their thought process to come up with something.

#5- They almost freeze while answering.  Most people are under the impression a liar starts fidgeting because they get nervous.  However, they are most likely to become very still and focused on you.  Don’t forget what we talked about in #1.  You may still see that here.

#6- Decreased blinking and looking away.  This is another thing people get wrong because of the bad information they’ve been given.  Quite often liars will look at you with little or no blinking during and after they answer your question/s.  That may go against everything you’ve always heard.  But there is research that shows it’s true.  Why do they keep looking at you like that?  Because they want to make sure you believe them.  They are watching your Body Language and facial expressions now.  If you frown, or show any kind of expression that transmits you’re unsure of the validity of the answer, they want to know.

#7- After the liar answers your question, pause just briefly.  Don’t move.  Don’t change your eye gaze.  Because they may start talking again and right away.  This is one of my favorites.  They may be adding things to the answer or story they’ve just told you to make it stronger, more believable.

Lie Spotting Checklist

As you search for lies it is imperative you keep a few things in mind. 

Because quite often the person you think is lying may be telling the truth.  So remember, as you listen to an answer and go down the Lie Spotting Checklist:

The person may be nervous about something completely different when answering.

You may see something that says the person is lying when if fact that behavior may be normal for them.  They may do that behavior no matter what you ask them.  That’s why baselining the person is important.

Make sure you look for more than a single thing on the list.  If you see three of them during the same answer, you may have spotted a lie.

If you tell someone you think another person is being dishonest, don’t tell them how you know.  Just tell them your gut says something isn’t right.  The last thing you want is co-workers and friends thinking you’re reading their Body Language every time you ask them something.

As you search for lies it is imperative you keep a few things in mind.  Because quite often the person you think is lying may be telling the truth.  So remember, as you listen to an answer and go down the Lie Spotting Checklist:

The person may be nervous about something completely different when answering.

You may see something that says the person is lying when if fact that behavior may be normal for them.  They may do that behavior no matter what you ask them.  That’s why baselining the person is important.

Make sure you look for more than a single thing on the list.  If you see three of them during the same answer, you may have spotted a lie.

If you tell someone you think another person is being dishonest, don’t tell them how you know.  Just tell them your gut says something isn’t right.  The last thing you want is co-workers and friends thinking you’re reading their Body Language every time you ask them something.

Follow me on Twitter and let me know what you would add to the Lie Spotting Checklist.  @ScottRouse3