Today’s issue is a bit different: it’s about how to tell if someone is lying to you. Who hasn’t heard the old saying “Liars never look you in the eye”? Developing the ability to read the body language and identify lies can help you better navigate situations of dishonesty.


 Remember: these signs don’t indicate someone is lying, just that they are more likely to be lying.


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Face-to-Face Meetings


 A fake smile.

It’s hard for liars to give a real smile while seeking to deceive. (Real smiles crinkle the corners of the eyes and change the entire face. Faked smiles involve the mouth only.)



 Most people can’t fake smile



 Lack of eye contact.

The most obvious giveaway when someone is lying is lack of eye contact. They’ll look everywhere but at your eyes; their own eye pupils may expand (dilate). In fact, they may turn their whole body away from you.


 Body Language.

The rest of their body language may be uneasy — like stiff -and they may touch their face (especially the nose) or throat, fiddle with their hair or rub the back of their neck (though this is also a sign of embarrassment or discomfort).



A US university study found that those who were concealing an awkward truth used more deceptive language, more negative emotion words and fewer words such as “I” and “me”.



 Eye movements.

Humans naturally break eye contact and look at non-moving objects to help them focus and remember. Liars may deliberately make eye contact to seem more sincere. You can usually tell if a person is remembering something or making something up based on their eye’s movements. When someone is remembering details, their eyes move to the right (your right). When someone is making something up, their eyes move to the left. It’s usually reversed for lefties. (Although not always true.)


 Look for Contradictions.

The general rule is anything that a person does with their voice or their gesture that doesn’t fit the words they are saying can indicate a lie.


 Hiding the mouth or eyes

A deceptive person will often hide her mouth or eyes when she’s being untruthful. There is a natural tendency to want to cover over a lie, so if a person’s hand goes in front of her mouth while she’s responding to a question, that’s significant.


 Shaking hands.

When you meet the person who you think is deceiving you, shake their hand. Take note of the temperature. When you are sure they are lying to you, pretend to be leaving and quickly grab their hand for a “Good-Bye” Handshake. If the temperature is colder, they are fearful.


 The devil is in the detail.

If someone is lying to you, they’ll try extra hard to make you believe the lie. Because of this, they will often add lots of unnecessary detail. If it looks like they’re telling you too much and over-embellishing, it’s probably because they’re lying.



Phone/ Face to Face


 A Person’s Voice Radically Changes.

Start asking him questions that you don’t know the answer to. If his manner shifts abruptly—going from calm to agitated or lively to mellow—chances are he’s not telling the truth.


 Silence is golden.

Liars don’t like silence. By staying quiet, you are giving them no feedback on whether you believe them or not, which makes them nervous and want to try harder.



People who are lying also make more edits and send shorter messages.



 Bombard them with questions. 

 When a person lies they have to concentrate hard on what they’re saying, so there will be less complexity in their answer. If you’re trying to catch someone out, once they’ve done their spiel, ask plenty of difficult questions.If they’re lying, their answers will probably be quite vague and lacking in detail.


 Make them say it in reverse.

Accordingly to Daily Mail, this technique is often used by the police. They will ask someone to give a version of events. Then they will ask them to go back to their story and repeat the events — but in reverse order. If they’re making it up, that’s much more difficult.





 Compare statements to previous communications.

Because email is written communication, you have the ability to better analyze the potential mistruth. Take advantage of this opportunity by looking back at previous communications and checking for any message discrepancy.


 Response Times.

Pay attention to their response times. Fast, short replies that don’t answer many questions could mean that the individual is – again – thinking on their feet. Long, drawn-out response times could mean that they are trying to come up with the perfect response that answers all your questions.


 Look for logic flaws.

If the information you don’t believe is true seems to lack logic, it is likely a lie. Reread the email correspondence several times and put it through the logic test, considering whether it really rings true. If it doesn’t seem to, it likely is a lie.


Keep some of the above pointers in mind the next time you are engaged in a high level negotiation, a job interview, salary discussion, etc. Do you have more tips to identify a lier at work? Please share your views in the comment area below.


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Myriam Balerio is the founder and writer of PA Privé. After kick starting her career as a PA and finding success as an assistant, Myriam later trained in digital and online marketing and has since combined the two disciplines in creating PA Privé, the platform through which she provides sage advice for those in the assistant profession and a network for like-mined PAs and EAs to connect. Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Myriam has lived in London for over 10 years and currently lives in London with her husband and French bulldog.


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