It's not a secret that people tell lies and half-truths sometimes. People tell lies to avoid a confrontation, avoid disapointing others or on impules for no predetermined reason at all. Whatever the reason for not speaking the truth, people will often give away a lie in their facial expression. Unfortunately, some of these facial expressions go unnoticed.
The truth of what a person thinks and says lies not just in what they say, but rather in what they say accompanied by what they do. If what someone says aligns with what they do, then they are indeed speaking the truth. If the words they speak does not align with their actions, they are most likely lying, and this is inadvertently revealed through their microexpressions.
A microexpression is a culmination of subtle changes in the face that can happen for only a fraction of a second, such as a wide-open, slacked jaw expressing utter surprise. Just like other expressions, a telling facial expression is usually expressed momentarily before the person “recovers” to a lying expression that matches their lying words.
It's important to keep an eye out for facial cues, especially when interacting or dealing with clients, partners and other people in business. Once you understand how facial cues work, you can match your clients' words to their actions and “hear” the truth every single time.
How to Read Microexpressions
According to Dr. Gregory Jantz, founder of The Center • A Place of HOPE, when a person is lying they will oftentimes slightly change the tone and cadence of their speech. They might start speaking more quickly or slowly, and with either a higher or lower tone. The sentences they use often become more complex as their brain works on overdrive to keep up with their tale.
Now, apart from listening to tone, sentence structures and cadence when interacting with clients, look out for their facial expression while they are speaking. An insightful infographic by the American Express' OPEN Forum highlights things to look out for in microexpressions and how to decode what your client is really telling you:
- If a client says. "I fully understand your offer" but you see a crease between eyebrows, one eyebrow raised and or a wrinkled noes, this client doesn't understand your offer. Make sure you re-explain your offer otherwise your offer may be lost for good.
- If a client says, "I am signing off on this today" but you see a frown, eyes glancing down or dropped shoulders, this client is uncomfortable and lied to escape their discomfort. Ask if there is anything else you can do to allay their discomfort and close the deal or you'll lose the deal.
- If a client says, "I am ready to buy" and you see corners of the mouth turn up and upper teeth exposed, congratulations! This client is telling the truth—they are ready to buy.
More Ways to Detect Lying Clients - Infographic
Check out OPEN Forum's infographic in its entirity below for more information on how to read facial cues and decode what your client is telling you: