A Million Ways to Spot a Liar

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If only we lived in a world where the deceitful were physically shamed by a growing nose whenever they lied. Think about ... the disingenuous car salesmen who would soon be starved, the massive number of colleagues to Houdini from the office, celebrities and media personalities would revolve more frequently than a subway turnstile. The names of our major political parties might also be forced to change to something like the Great Nose of Liberty Party and the Nose Grows to Prosperity Party.

Living in a society with such a tell affords so many great benefits ... Divorce rates restore back to those of modern times, as many ill-conceived marriages are avoided. Court trials go seamlessly with justice quickly served to all. Investors are no longer swindled, and the general public no longer hoodwinked. All reasons for drug testing become obsolete, people accept accountability for their actions, and all law firms turn not for profit. Improvements like these only begin to scratch the surface. I believe that Sam Cooke sang it best, "what a wonderful world this would be".

Unfortunately, dreaming of such a land is a fairy tale and the burden of spotting a liar or a cheat falls upon each of us. Fortunately, no matter how much a fibber practices, deceit is still an unnatural act. Since there are many who have generated a livelihood from the skill, there are probably not a million ways to spot a liar. However, if you exercise patience and learn to be keen, you just may pick up on the following 10 approaches:

1. Speaks what you want to hear - Those with something to gain find innovative ways to tell people what they want to hear versus telling it like it is. The deceitful believe that a sucker is born every minute, and will never risk capitalizing on a good or lucrative opportunity by speaking the truth. When something sounds too good to be true, it always is. I titled this blog post the way I did for good reason, to make you click on it. A gullible mind makes the easiest prey, so wise up.

2. Subtle incongruity - Polygraphs, more commonly known as lie detectors, work by monitoring several physical reactions of those who take the test. Sensors to track breathing rate, blood pressure, pulse and perspiration, chart some of the changes that occur when someone is lying. Even though this test is not foolproof, when being dishonest, our bodies reveal subtle clues. Champion poker players have mastered the art of spotting this. Be aware of any change in rhythm or vibe via an awkward facial expressions or twitch. Rapid facial flushing, an itchy nose or avoidance of eye contact could be just the cue needed to catch a liar in the act. William Shakespeare stated that "the eyes are the window to the soul" for good reason.

3. Won't put it in writing - Top-notch misleaders are notorious for promising you the world and guaranteeing it. But when asked to put all assurances in writing their follow through erodes faster than a sand castle at high-tide. Corporate America is no place for promises. Even though some may truly have the best intentions, circumstances can change in an instant. If you do not have pledges of that big raise or corner office in writing, the reality is about as real as the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

4. Makes excuses - When an individual makes excuses, he is unable to accept blame and accountability. Don't be fooled by those who look to escape something. This cowardly act promotes finger pointing, spin and fabrications of what really happened. Always consider excuse as a form of abuse. Realize that a person's pride, self-respect and integrity is all on the line. Learn to become one who graciously accepts a zero before ever claiming the dog ate his homework. Only then will it become easy to identify those who bear false witness.

5. Irritability - When a liar is contested or put on the spot, petulance springs to life as a fast-acting defense mechanism. It's exactly as if they're saying "stop asking me all of these questions, I haven't thought my lie through this far". Never let a person's testiness stop your due diligence. If they become threatened by your heat, show them out of the kitchen.

6. Lack of specificity - Consider the truth to be concrete, as opposed to an abstract quality. Seek black and white from those who speak in shades of grey. Skilled liars also possess a quick tongue, they will dodge the specifics by changing the subject, filibustering or speaking enigmatically. In such events, enjoy the performance at hand, save your breath, and do not try to get a word in edgewise.

7. Repeat offenders -"Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me" is an idiomatic expression to live by. However, you shouldn't have to be the person who is fooled to you learn. When it comes to con artists and deceivers, there is no such thing as the in crowd. Everyone is fair game. If a person ever lies to another in front of you, even just once, you should be smart enough to know that you will never be the exception.

8. Know the source - Information never flowed as quickly as it does today. With the explosion of the World Wide Web, the internet became the superhighway of information. Ever since, manipulative marketers and advertisers have been in a race to get you. If you are one who relies on a single source, it's not a question of if, it's a matter of how bad you will get stung. Remember to challenge and contest everything that hits the screen. Just because it's tweeted does not mean to repeat it! Also, the next time a person begins a sentence with "they say", be sure to ask who they is.

9. Arrogance -In my book, Welcome to the Big Leagues, I state that arrogance is ignorance. I have also known a few of the egotistical who would throw their own mother under the bus before ever admitting they were wrong. Never lose sight of the fact that the business world is the largest breeding ground of arrogance. Beware of the folks who care nothing about the words being spoken to you, but rather, care everything about how they appear saying it.

10. Follow your first instinct -Malcolm Gladwell wrote Blink to examine the phenomenon of snap judgment. He revealed how what is thought in the first two seconds, or blink of an eye, can be more accurate than well researched, careful analysis. Perhaps we all do have some type of internal radar to protect us from harm’s way. To the contrary, we may also have such strong biases that cause us to blindly swallow even the thickest of it. Either way, I believe that our first instinct can act as an effective guide. It may allow us to empathize with the boss, teacher, friend, family member or President, who hopes to avoid a suspicious silence by telling a white lie. This does not always make them a bad person, and sometimes adds credibility to the saying "you can't handle the truth".

 

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"Welcome to the Big Leagues is a very enjoyable read that’s packed with many insights on how to succeed in corporate America and life in general. I strongly recommend it for all new college graduates who are now ready to up their game."

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"Welcome to the Big Leagues does a very good job of guiding the corporate rookie through the minefield of joining corporate America and providing a path to a successful career. Having played the game for close to 40 years; which included owning the roles of coach and mentor, I highly recommend this book for rookies and veterans alike."

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"As a manager and mentor of recent college graduates throughout my whole career, I have finally found a guide book to recommend to those that want to succeed. Welcome to the Big Leagues gives straight-forward advice to new entrants to the maze that is corporate America. Passionate, practical and with a purpose!"

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"A positive wake-up call to remind us on how to do things right again. Welcome to the Big Leagues logically details the methodologies needed for building a blue print towards success. I wish I had this when I was entering the working world after my undergraduate degree. Every college graduate with the aspiration of performing at full potential should read Continue Reading

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"In the business world, greatness only comes to those who consistently perform at peak levels and work hard to raise the bar from there. Welcome to the Big Leagues is a profound guide; packed with essential tips and powerful stories to coach rookies on how to achieve all-star performance, while getting the most out of career and life."

"Very creative! Welcome to the Big Leagues is a unique thesis on how to make an impact on the corporate environment. Using baseball as the backdrop, the reader is able to easily absorb and remember the lessons, the author, Carmine Del Sordi, is conveying. Very few business books speak to both physical and mental wellbeing; which further makes it essential to read."

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"Very creative! Welcome to the Big Leagues is a unique thesis on how to make an impact on the corporate environment. Using baseball as the backdrop, the reader is able to easily absorb and remember the lessons, the author, Carmine Del Sordi, is conveying. Very few business books speak to both physical and mental wellbeing; which further makes it essential Continue Reading

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Welcome to the Big Leagues: Nine Innings of Essential Tips for the Corporate Rookie
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"Welcome to the Big Leagues embodies Carmine's passion and commitment towards achieving greatness. The valuable tips and concepts apply throughout all industries and business sectors. With three corporate rookies of my own, I bought each a copy."

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"Welcome to the Big Leagues offers inspiration, humor, and the much needed insights to overcome the barriers that exist in the business world. It is a very enjoyable read where the author shares his personal stories in a way to help others."

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Bettina Koblick, CHRO, Symantec

"The corporate rookie of today could benefit from additional support, as the demanding and competitive business landscape has become less forgiving of mistakes and poor decisions. Welcome to the Big Leagues emphasizes the importance of actively managing a host of critical success factors like the ability to drive results, strong collaboration and fiscal responsibility. It provides readers with the much needed Continue Reading

"Carmine identifies the critical components that are necessary to live, survive and succeed in the corporate world. He does so in a manner that parallels the world of baseball and adds a dash of humor along the way. He is right on the mark and hits home as I relate back to the early part of my career. The corporate world is a very competitive environment that can be loaded with stress, ill feelings towards others as well as being a very unhealthy place to be. It is only those who understand how to identify roadblocks and how to handle them who thrive in such settings. In his book, Carmine has done an excellent job in highlighting all of this and giving some great advice to the corporate rookie, but I will also say that it is a refreshing read for us veterans that have been through it. I found that I was very entertained and recommend it to all."

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"Carmine identifies the critical components that are necessary to live, survive and succeed in the corporate world. He does so in a manner that parallels the world of baseball and adds a dash of humor along the way."

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Spencer Hughes, Radio Host, The Spencer Hughes Show

"I've read Welcome to the Big Leagues twice and found it to be just like watching a movie, where you pick up more the second time around. This book is very powerful and packed with real world advice that college students, graduates, and millennials will all benefit from."

"Carmine presents this treatise against the backdrop of professional baseball; it is a highly entertaining read, providing humor and insight to cement his points and advice. Welcome to the Big Leagues is not only a guide for the corporate neophyte, but a useful guide for evaluation at any level in one’s career. After 30 years in technology development, I have found that it brings clarity to events that have affected my own professional career. I strongly recommend the read."

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Steve Menchen, Scientific Fellow, ThermoFisher Scientific

"Carmine presents this treatise against the backdrop of professional baseball; it is a highly entertaining read, providing humor and insight to cement his points and advice. Welcome to the Big Leagues is not only a guide for the corporate neophyte, but a useful guide for evaluation at any level in one’s career. After 30 years in technology development, I have found Continue Reading

"Finally a 'manual' for true professionalism in today's corporate workplace. From my seat, I have witnessed far too many times a recurring theme: Rookies, newcomers, young employees all looking to go from A to Z without any stops in between. This book should be a mandatory read for all job applicants and veterans like us who could surely use a refresher. Carmine Del Sordi knocks it out of the park."

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Todd Kauffmann, Senior VP, UBS Financial Services

"Finally a 'manual' for true professionalism in today's corporate workplace. From my seat, I have witnessed far too many times a recurring theme: Rookies, newcomers, young employees all looking to go from A to Z without any stops in between. This book should be a mandatory read for all job applicants and veterans like us who could surely use a refresher. Carmine Continue Reading
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2 Responses

  1. machnolee
    I know I had to go back a ways to find this, but this is my favorite post of yours to date. The insight you share is keen and obviously a product of more than just a few moments reflection just before writing it. I hope others will read this and learn.
    • Thanks Machnolee. I'm glad that you enjoyed this post and took the time to comment. Mind, Body and Spirit was probably one of my favorites to write, as I truly live the message.

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