- Matching Words & Body Language
In our culture, shaking one’s head up and down means yes, and side to side means no. If someone is saying, “No, I didn’t do it,” but their head is shaking yes, they probably did it, said Brown. “People subconsciously accent things with their heads all the time,” she added, and the head is more trustworthy than the mouth.
- Lips Don’t Lie
Folding in one’s lips before speaking is a red flag. “When people’s lips disappear, they are holding back information,” said Brown. “The next thing that comes out of their mouth is either a half-truth or a lie.”
- Be Attuned to Tone
Tone of voice is one of the best indicators of deception. A strong “convincing” tone often indicates deception, while a softer “conveying” tone can mean someone is telling a partial truth and not the whole story.
- Big Talkers
People who are most effusive in their denials or other untrue statements are among the most likely to be guilty. “The ones who are working really hard at looking like the good guy are the people we have got to be wary of,” said Brown.
- Notice the Jitters
“If someone becomes fidgety, that can indicate deception,” Brown noted. Our feet give us away with the instinct to flee an uncomfortable situation, and when our brains tell us we can’t do that, a little dancing in place might be the result.
- Look for Inconsistencies
People have typical patterns with respect to their baseline body language and manner of speaking. If someone’s body language is unusual for that person, take note.
- It’s in the Eyes
“When you see the whites of people’s eyes, that means fear,” said Brown. If someone’s eyes dart around when they’re asked a question — shifting up, down and side-to-side — they’re fearful of giving an honest answer.
- Yes or No Isn’t Maybe
“I think so,” “I don’t recall” or “to the best of my knowledge” are suspect answers to any yes-or-no question.
- Distrust a Delay
“If someone waits more than five seconds to answer a question, that’s a pretty good sign of deception,” said Brown.
With careful observation, we can become adept at reading the nonverbal cues of a liar. People often attempt to suppress their emotions but there is ‘leakage,’ known as micro expressions, which occur in one-fifth of a second.