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Why We Lie—And How To Uncover The Truth: Pamela Meyer On Liespotting
Liespotting | September 30, 2013

Why We Lie—And How To Uncover The Truth: Pamela Meyer On Liespotting

"Pamela Meyer, author of Liespotting: Proven Techniques to Detect Deception, claims in her TED talk that we're lied to from 10 to 200 times per day," reads a recent Huffington Post article. Given the various degrees of lies people tell, and, the subtle and sometimes counter-intuitive signals used to pinpoint dishonesty, getting to the truth can seem like an overwhelming task. But with Meyer's help, we can arm ourselves to be better in tune with what people are telling us. Along with being an author, Meyer is also a Certified Fraud Examiner. In short, she's an expert in deception. Drawing from tips from the article and her talk, Meyer provides key signs to watch for to help you seek out the truth.

"Not all lies are harmful," she says in her talk, "Sometimes we are willing participants in deception for the sake of social dignity [or] maybe to keep a secret that should be kept secret a secret." But other times, she notes, dishonesty can have devastating consequences. We lie, she explains, because as a society we're "deeply ambivalent about the truth." The Huffington Post notes that "it's common for people to only say the parts of the truth that they feel are acceptable or that they think people want to hear, leaving the full truth hidden away." This is where "lying by omission" and "little white lies" come into play. On the other end of the spectrum, lies can be bigger or more damaging. Ultimately, however, we tend to lie to compensate for the gaps between who we are and what we have, and who we want to be and want to have.

So, how do we sleuth out deception? Meyers suggests looking out for seven key signs that point to dishonesty: Repetition, avoiding contractions, exaggerated language, changing the subject, using bolstering statements, using qualifying statements, and telling a story in chonological order. There are also telling signals in someone's body language to look out for. Someone that's lying may freeze their upper body, look you in the eyes a little too much, and fake a smile. Also, she says to pay attention to whether the person's words match up with the actions they make with their body. Overall, however, it's important to remember that "these behaviors are just behaviors they are not proof of deception—they're red flags." That means that one or two of these "tells" on its own doesn't amount to deception. But when you start to see a pattern, or, a few of these cues lumped together, you may want to think twice about whether you're hearing the truth.

In her talks, Pamela Meyer provides her audience with detailed scientific findings on which personality types lie, how deception is expressed in email, on the phone, and in person; and how to detect deception through body language. You will also learn about statement analysis, interviewing techniques, and interrogation, and about how negotiators can gain the upper hand and close deals that last, by mastering deception detection techniques. If you hire Pamela Meyer as a speaker, you and your team will acquire a new set of face-to-face skills to flush out deception, avoid potentially costly encounters, and build a trustworthy team.
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