Freddy and the Dreamers were a musical group about the time of the British musical invasion in the mid 1960’s. One of their hits was, “I’m Telling You Now.” If you think any of the antics on current musical videos is silly, have a look at what Freddy was doing more than 50 years ago: https://youtu.be/rXo-osvXgHU

In poker, having good cards helps, but perhaps not as much as being able to spot the “tells” of your opponents. When you can determine from a facial tic, changes in tension, breathing, eye contact and much more, you better determine if they are telling the truth or bluffing. And people, just like Freddie sang, are always telling you – we just need to pay attention.

People lie the least with e-mail and most on the telephone. It’s easier on the telephone where there is no paper trail on you can’t see them. While it is more difficult to determine lies on the telephone, it is not impossible.

People lie rather than tell the truth for many reasons, but one of them is because they believe we may be too stupid to know the difference.

How do they ‘sound’ when telling the truth? This may be at the beginning of a conversation or talking about ‘other than the debt’ (weather, sports team), you can generally assume they are being truthful. You now have the baseline on which you compare the ‘tells’ in what they say.

  1. A delay in response time. Silence may be the biggest lie of all because liars need time to think of a response. This includes determining the response they may have given you to an earlier question. (“Sorry, I forgot to write down the check number you mentioned earlier. Could you tell me again, please?”)
  2. The game of word stall is when they use: well, basically, generally speaking, and other such words or phrases to once again, give them time to think and formulate a response.
  3. Would I lie to you? Granted, for some people it is the way the speak, but your liedar should start ringing if you hear the word ‘honestly’ or the phrase, ‘to be honest with you’. And, if someone ever tells me “You don’t have to worry about your money.” I may not have been worried about it before but I’m about to start!
  4. Dodge ball is another game where they just don’t answer the question. It isn’t so much that they never lie to you, they just never tell the truth.

We deal with people who are under stress and pressure so please keep in mind that a deviation does not guarantee a deception. Yet, when there is a cluster of ‘tells’ you will want to remember a few key words from Freddie’s song: “I’ll say what you want to hear.”

Pithy Quote of the Month:

“We tend to tell people what will make us sound good. I myself, to my utter amazement, informed a telephone pollster that I exercised regularly, a bare-faced lie.” 
…Katha Pollitt

Want to hear more about lies? How about sex, lies and negotiation techniques? It’s the title of my latest book and keynote address. Click here.