How To Tell If Someone Is Telling The Truth

By August 19, 2021 May 8th, 2023 Building a Better Team

Last Updated on May 8, 2023 by Dave Schoenbeck

Have you ever felt that one of your teammates was lying to you, but you weren’t sure?  While you may feel you’ll never know, there are ways that you can increase your intuition in detecting lies using proven scientific skills.

Stay with me, and we will discuss why it’s essential to learn how to tell if someone is telling the truth and specific skills you can use to uncover deceit.

a woman crosses her fingers behind her back to signify that she isn't telling the truth

The Benefits of Knowing the Signs

You may think knowing how to tell if someone is telling the truth is nothing more than an interesting party trick.  However, countless scenarios in which interpreting body language clues and other lie-detection techniques can come in handy as a business owner.

Employees who regularly distort the truth are a risk to your business.  For example, they may lie about why they cannot be at work, leaving you and your team scrambling to care for customers in their absence.  In addition, they probably are willing to lie to customers.

Some of the best in law enforcement interrogation have spent years analyzing body language and interpreting body language cues.  What they’ve discovered will help you understand how to improve your instincts when determining whether or not employees are honest with you.  Below are some of the most effective techniques to help you learn to tell if someone is telling the truth.

What Is A Tell?

To identify an untruth, you must first understand that everyone, including yourself, has a “tell.” A tell is a body sign — a facial expression, a nervous habit, or a particular way of moving or talking — that a person does when lying.

Think back to when you suspected a team member of lying to you.  What about that hallway conversation led you to believe this person was not truthful?

Did they hesitate, avoid eye contact, or get angry and storm off?  Perhaps those actions seemed odd or out of place.  Nevertheless, those were what experts consider tells.  While it’s not always possible to know definitively how to tell if someone is telling the truth, tells is one of the best ways to get closer to the truth.

What Are Facial Micro-Expressions?

Facial micro-expressions are half-second or less involuntary facial expressions ingrained in us as humans.  They are nearly impossible to hide or fake because they are part of our natural emotional expression.  Here are the seven micro-expressions that might give you away: 

  1. Anger
  2. Contempt
  3. Disgust
  4. Fear
  5. Sadness
  6. Happiness
  7. Surprise

When someone is lying, their face often shows two emotions consecutively: the emotion the person is truly feeling and the emotion they want you to believe they are feeling.  So, for example, if they are secretly happy about something, you may see a micro-expression of happiness first, followed by sadness.  This is because they intend to try to demonstrate the emotion they believe is appropriate if they are truthful.

While tells and micro-expressions are not an admission of guilt or proof, they are ways to gain insight into a situation and use intuition to help you plan your next step.  Additionally, it’s crucial not to accuse or create stories at the risk of implicating someone who is telling the truth.  Instead, use the information in this article to help you gain as much human data as possible to make the best decision for you and your business.

If you are still working on how to tell if someone is telling the truth, click and fill out my “get started” form for a free meeting to work on improving your skills in predicting behavior.

Coach Dave


Dave Schoenbeck
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