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Thursday, January 13, 2000 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Real Life

`Never Be Lied to Again' with these tips

Seattle Times staff reporter

------------------------- "Never Be Lied to Again: How to Get the Truth in 5 Minutes or Less in Any Conversation or Situation" by David J. Lieberman St. Martin's Griffin, $12.95 -------------------------

Honesty is at the cornerstone of every relationship, whether it's business or personal. Unfortunately, dishonesty is almost as common.

"When you know a person's true intent, you have the power to control the situation, or at the very least, not be taken advantage of," writes David J. Lieberman in his book, "Never Be Lied to Again."

"It takes two people for a lie to be effective - one to offer the lie and one to believe it," notes Lieberman, a certified hypnotherapist who holds a doctorate in psychology. "And while we certainly can't stop people from trying to lie to us, we can keep them from being successful."

The book explains how liars' mannerisms often give them away, ways to ferret out lies, how to test others' honesty and tricks to keep yourself from believing obvious lies because it's what you want to hear. Some of Lieberman's tips:

-- Watch how expressive a person's movements are. "When you're passionate about what you're saying, your hands and arms wave all about . . . (but) when you don't believe in what you're saying, your body language echoes these feelings and becomes inexpressive."

-- To catch sincerity, observe the timing of emotions. A response that's not genuine is not spontaneous; there is a slight delay in the onset of false emotion. The duration is also off: The response goes on longer than it would in the case of genuine emotions (for example, someone who feigns surprise will keep a look of awe plastered on their face longer than someone truly caught unaware).

-- During a confrontation, listen to see if the person uses a contraction. Sometimes the guilty, in an attempt to sound emphatic, avoid a contraction (was not instead of wasn't) in their statement of innocence so they can accentuate the "not."

-- Be wary if someone is constantly questioning your motives or activities. Another red flag: always asking if you believe them. Most people who tell the truth expect to be trusted.

-- Be suspicious if the answer to an accusation is "Why would I lie to you?" If someone is accused of something, he or she probably has an excellent reason to lie.

-- Establish a baseline, a sense of how the person responds to various situations. You need to know whether certain patterns of behavior are part of this person's usual repertoire before you confront them about a possible lie.

-- To encourage a confession, assume your suspicion is fact and treat it as such when you talk to a liar. In your conversation, state at least two facts you both know to be true, and include a request (not a threat) that will be easy for the other person to follow. This makes the liar think 1. You already know; 2. You're not mad; and 3. He's a good guy for cutting a deal with you.

-- Listen objectively. "If you're looking for praise, looking to confirm that which you already know, or looking for an argument, you will miss the true meaning behind the message.

Copyright (c) 2000 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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