How to Tell if Someone is Lying with Body Language

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How to Appear Powerful with Body Language....5

Learn how to tell if someone is lying by their body language and how to read other body language in this free video on body language communication skills.

Part of the Video Series: How to Read Body Language
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Video Transcript

DR. MICHELLE COHEN: Many of my clients come in asking me how to tell in business or political situations or even romantic relationships if someone maybe trying to trick or deceive them. And this sounds a little bit of paranoid, but I mean there's a lot of people who are really concerned about how to really read someone. So, there are certain ways you can pick up if someone's trying to trick or deceive you. Usually, one of the most obvious ways is they're anxious or nervous. They may have muscle tension. They may be rigid. They may have twitches. They may be very closed in their body language. Also, if you look at some political figures, you can very clearly see some of the discomfort. Sometimes, if you watch President Bush in his speeches, he'll bite the inside of his lip, like that, a lot when he's talking. That's a tool to help him pause, but it also shows a bit of anxiety. And England's ex-Prime Minister Tony Blair, if you watch him in a lot of clips, he puts his hands in his pockets, and that indicates discomfort as well. Not necessarily trickery or deception but definitely discomfort, which is a cue to possible deception. My actors Mark and Josh are now going to show you how to pick up some deceptive or tricky behaviors. Mark's going to be open to Josh but Josh is deceiving him. And as I mentioned earlier, deception causes anxiety so watch for fidgeting and watch for looking around, and in order to avoid being caught, people show signs of overcontrol as well. There may be forced smiles and cold eyes, jerky movements, clumsiness. A person also may be very rigid holding their body still to avoid telltale signs. So, they're going to be very still, and that's the same idea with Tony Blair with the hands on the pockets of being more rigid. They may fold their arms as well or put their hands in their pockets. Also, keep in mind that people who are trying to deceive sometimes are very fearful and very cautious about how they act and how they move. So, if there are a lot of pauses that means they're really thinking about what they're saying. And again, you have to consider the situation. Do not assume that someone is trying to deceive you. But along with all the muscle tension and the nervousness and or rigidity, look for a lot of pauses with averted eye contact as well, and the speech is usually nervous or broken up.


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