Entrepreneurs: Here’s a Smarter Way to Spot a Liar

Entrepreneurs: Here’s a Smarter Way to Spot a Liar

Are you considering a partnership? Are you negotiating with a supplier? Are you doing business networking? Are you interviewing new recruits? As an entrepreneur, you deal with a lot of people – even if you’re an online entrepreneur, mostly using your laptop for working on your business. Of all the conversations you have, the least thing you want to hear from others is a lie.

Lies – sadly – are part of life, including your business life – whether you like it or not. Chances are, you might be a victim: Scammed by a partner, tricked by your employees, etc. Developing a skill that allows you to spot a liar can potentially save you from future business troubles.

Okay, this sounds compelling, but how exactly do you spot a liar?

How to spot a liar

There are methods used to detect whether someone is lying or not. The problem is, most of the methods are either impractical or inaccurate. A lie detector might work well, but it’s impractical to bring it around when you’re having a meeting with a potential business partner, don’t you think? Plus, there are people who develop a skill to condition their body and mind in such a way that they can escape a lie detector.

In other words, those methods are not entirely effective.

So, what’s effective? Here’s an effective – and practical – one: Using communication sciences. In essence, communications science deals with how would you use words in creating meaningful sentences and phrases. The way you use words in your statement lead to a conclusion whether you’re lying or not.

Check out this video infographic from TED-ed to learn how to spot a liar using linguistic analysis. Some interesting examples inside!


So, to conclude, the language of lying has these four characteristics:

  • Using minimal self-reference in an attempt to disassociate someone from his/her lie. E.g. “Absolutely no party took place at this house!” sounds like a lie, versus “I didn’t host a party here.”
  • Typically negative language. E.g. “My stupid phone battery died.”
  • Too simple explanation. E.g. “I didn’t do it.”
  • Using convoluted phrasing. E.g. “I must say that I never, ever intend to do inappropriate things like that, never in my life.”

The next time you’re having a business conversation, try paying more attention to what he/she has got to say, and hone your skills in spotting a liar – and on the flip side, discovering an honest, trusted business people – quite possibly, your future business partner.

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