The Ultimate Cheat Sheet On Deception

A Short List Of Body Language Cues That Suggest Deception

The Ultimate Cheat Sheet On Deception.  You just got a text from a co-worker.  It reads:  in the meeting room. not sure about this guy-deal. come take a look at him”. 

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You know the meeting is with a vendor.  The deal isn’t huge, but it’s big enough to warrant extra time to make sure all is as it should be.

From my experience hearing stories just like this one I’ve found that most of the time one of two things will happen you engage that meeting…

  #1– You’ll feel okay about the vendor and reassure your co-worker that to you, all seems well.  Or…

#2– Your gut will tell you something is up, but you don’t know what that “something” is or why you feel that way.

With #2 you’ll begin to wonder:  “Are you just being overly cautious for no reason?  Should you suggest the deal go forward or should you postpone it?   Is he being deceptive about some of the deal points?   Is he being dishonest about some of the aspects of the product itself?”

“Has this guy just had a rough morning after a fight with his wife or one of his children and that’s what I’m seeing?  Or is he flat out lying to my face about all of it and the deal is bad all the way around?”

If you don’t want to study the intricacies of body language and you’re just interested in learning some simple cues or “tells” that might let you know if someone is being deceptive, I’ve put together this “Deception Cheat Sheet” for you.

Online-Course-StuffKeep in mind as you go over it, that some of these will sound and seem wrong to you.  That’s because they’ll go against what you feel would be logical or they will be the opposite of what you’ve always heard.

Some won’t coincide with the “facts” you’ve been presented with on TV shows and in magazine articles.  Or by those “body language experts” whose research is gathered from hear-say, “old wives tales”, and people that have little or no experience using these cues out in the wild.

So keep this handy, and before you go into that meeting give it a once over.

Deception Cheat Sheet

When you see 1 or 2 of these things happening take pause.  Pay attention.  They don’t mean the person is lying.  They may possibly mean the person is uncomfortable for some other reason.  If you see 2 or 3 of these in a row after asking a question, you will need to ask more questions around that subject.

On the outside chance you see ALL of these in the first 2 questions, you need to end the meeting and stop waisting your time, because I’ve got $50 that says they’re lying.


When you ask a question, do they:

#1- Pause before answering?  Repeat the entire question?  (They may be stalling for time.)

#2- Maintain eye contact when answering?  If it’s a short answer do they still maintain eye contact for a few seconds after answering?  (Most people think a person is lying if they break eye contact while answering.  Not so.  It’s just the opposite.  They most likely want to keep and eye on you to see if they need to add things to make the lie sound even more believable.  Also, they know you think breaking eye contact is bad.  Remember, it doesn’t mean for certain they’re lying when they don’t break eye contact, that’s why you need to see a group of these things happen before making any decisions.)

#3- Stay away from contractions in the answer?  For example; Non-Contracted: “No I did not.”  Contracted: “No I didn’t”.  Non-Contracted: “No I have not.”  Contracted: “No I haven’t.”  (If they don’t contract, you’re most likely getting a canned answer.  Plus the fact, nobody talks that way.  If I asked you if you wanted to go to Arby’s and you answered with “No, I do not.”  That would be odd.)

#4- Back up, sit back, or move back even the slightest bit?  (Quite often, but not always, the person being deceptive wants to put space between themselves and the lie.  So they’ll move back just a bit.)

#5- Nod their head “yes” when saying “no”?  Shake their head “no” when saying “yes”?  (That one’s fairly obvious.)

#6- Rub their hands on their pants, rub them together, clasp their hands together?  (Those are self pacification moves to help them relax a little and stay calm. They may even do something odd like pull on their face or their hair.)

#7- Swallow big after you ask the question?  (Not before.)

#8- Begin their answer by telling you they would never do that because they are _____________.  Or this would never happen because ________.   (Be sure the they answer the question you asked.  If they start putting a bunch of stuff in front of the spot the answer should go in, something may be up.)

#9- Invoke religion?  For example;  “As God Almighty is my witness…”,  “I swear to God…”, “I’ve been a Church Deacon for over 15 years…”?  (This is a good one.  If they’re being honest, there is no reason whatsoever to invoke religion.   The truth should confidently stand for itself.)


There is not one, single, specific body language cue that let’s you know someone is being honest or dishonest.  Or if they’re telling you the truth or lying.  Or if they are being deceptive or are completely on the level with you.

However, you can use this Deception Cheat Sheet to help you get a much better perspective on what’s really going on.  Whether it’s someone you know, or someone you just met, the information is valid.

Are there some things on this list you’ve observed when talking to someone or asking questions?