We’re all taught at a young age about the negative consequences of lying. Unfortunately, deception is a common occurrence in the workplace. Anyone in business can tell you that at one time or another, they have trusted the wrong person and have been lied to. Deception can take quite the emotional toll on the victim, not to mention the financial toll on the business that’s been swindled.
Interestingly enough, people tend to give signs when they’re being dishonest. Here are 7 subtle cues that will help you tell when you might be being deceived:
1. Nose touch: We have erectile tissues in our noses, which engorge with blood when we lie. This causes a tingling or itching sensation that makes us want to scratch our nose. The presence of a nose touch often means deception, but sometimes a person will touch his or her nose because of a non-deceptive cause, such as a cold. With some practice, you can quickly learn to distinguish a deceptive nose touch from something innocent.
2. Speech disturbances: When we lie, we force our brain to pretend that the lie is true and the truth is a lie. This can cause confusion in the mind of the liar. The process of deception taxes our cognitive ability to think efficiently. So when we lie, we pause longer and speak slower than normal and often experience speech disturbances that serve as gap fillers, such as “um,” “er” and “ah.”
3. Incongruent behavior: When our words and our body language don’t agree, our communication is incongruent. Imagine that you ask a salesman if he can assure your delivery will be on time. If he explains how certain he is about it being on time while also shaking his head–as if non-verbally saying “no”–he is incongruent. When this sort of incongruence occurs, you would do well to believe the person’s body over his words.
4. Neck rub: We rub our necks because of the stress we experience when we feel that an obstacle may be insurmountable. If one of you’re employees is rubbing his neck while discussing how easy a project will be to complete, he may feel deep down as if he’ll be unable to accomplish it. He might be wrong, but if we know anything about human psychology, it’s that if someone believes that they can or can’t do something, they’re probably right.
5. Eye rub: An eye rub is an indicator of disbelief. If an employee starts rubbing their eyes as you speak to them, this could be a sign that they may disagree with what you’re saying. It would be wise to stop and ask a question to allow the employee to verbally object. Many subordinates feel uneasy about disagreeing with the boss, but their bodies don’t hesitate. Perceiving a potential problem and dealing with it early can be the difference between a simple misunderstanding and a business disaster.
6. Upward inflections: We upwardly inflect our words when asking a question. You may have noticed that some salespeople will upwardly inflect certain statements of fact. This is a red flag that should alert you to potential deception. The salesman might say, “Your competitors have seen their profit margins increase by 30 percent by using our product.” If you notice that he upwardly inflected the words, “30 percent,” you should disregard this statistic and be suspicious of him altogether.
7. Stabbed hollows: In the study of graphology–or handwriting analysis–hollow letters represent honesty. Anything that disrupts a hollow letter could indicate deception. Let’s pretend you enter your office to find a note from your top salesman on your desk. His note indicates that he had to go out of town to visit his sick mother and won’t be able to go to the annual trade show. You notice that every “o” in his note has some sort of mark interjected into the hollow space of each letter. You would be right to be suspicious of the facts in the note.
SOURCE: Ken Osborn, Entrepreneur.com