Mastering Body Language:

How to Detect Pants Whose Pants are on Fire

Why Understanding Body Language is SO Important

Utilizing the power of body language can help you identify if someone is being dishonest with you.

Wikipedia defines body language as the ‘non-verbal signals that we use to communicate.’ The fun part is, most of the people you talk to are not even aware this is happening.

For example, you might ask your employer if they’re happy with your work. The words that come out of their mouth are ‘Yes of course’ but their crossed arms are stating the opposite.

In reality 50%-70% of the time we spend talking is dedicated to non-verbal communication. This is why understanding body language is so important. It can serve as a powerful tool to prevent financial and emotional loss.

The Benefits of Understanding Body Language

Mastering body language will help you in lots of ways.  We’re going to focus here on deception detection so you’ll know when someone’s pants are on fire (this is applicable to your family, friends, co-workers or employees);

Mastering Body Language – Why People Lie

No matter how honest a person might seem, the reality is that everyone lies at some point. Most of us tell little white lies, a behavior that can also become a problem if we allow it.

Learn How to Stop Telling White Lies

Why do people lie you ask? Well…

  1. 1. People lie to get what they want; your kids might not be done with their home-work, but they really want to watch that cartoon, so they lie; or your spouse claims they quit smoking but you feel something is not right.
  2. 2. People lie to get out of trouble – Your neighbor’s kids broke the window of your house, and even though they know the truth they will pretend they have no idea what happened;\
  3. People lie to escape confrontation – Your spouse hates a certain dish, but can’t tell you; You really don’t get along with your new daughter in law, but if asked you’ll say she’s a really nice person.
  4. People lie to conform to the crowd – Receiving more work without getting paid is completely unfair, but all your colleagues are going along with it, so you decide to shut up as well.

Body Language – Know What to Look For

It takes a lot of thinking and energy to lie. That’s the reason body language can be relied on to indicate deception.

Words are the easiest to control, much less so for tone and body language. Liars not only have to think about the tale they’re telling but, also, have to attempt to generate the appropriate emotions and body language that goes with it .

When you know what to look for, you can detect lies for yourself and avoid the pain that comes when you discover the unfortunate truth.

In my book ‘How to Detect Lies, Fraud and Identity Theft: Field Guide,’ I use my extensive experience as a body expert, to show you how to get to the truth. Find out more about my work with the FBI, interrogation techniques, and master the verbal and non-verbal signs of deception.

So let’s go through the different body parts and what they really tell us while someone is talking:

  1. Body Language Mastery – Gesturing

One of the most important hot spots that will uncover if someone is lying is the timing of their gesture. Do they gesture slightly before they speak or slightly after?

  • Truthful people gesture just before they speak .
  • Liars gesture just after they make their point .

This is subtle but worth watching for. Of course you can’t apply this model to everyone, and I certainly am aware of this issue. In order to judge someone based on their gesture, first you’ll need to baseline them:

Ask someone a question that you know will be truthful, such as what the date today is, or how they spell their name. Watch closely as they respond and compare those gestures later when you’re asking the tough questions.

  1. Body Language Mastery – Watch Their Head

Sometimes people will say ‘yes’ just to please you, but in reality their head is shaking as they were saying ‘no’ to you. Also shaking their head side to side delivers a message that they’re unsure of what they’re saying.

Always be careful when judging people and what they say. The truth can be found if you connect multiple hot-spots, and not just one.

  1. Body Language Mastery – Watch the Hands Closely

Our brains are wired to try and keep us comfortable at all times. Telling lies is uncomfortable for most people (unless they’re mentally ill) so their body tries to compensate this situation.

The hands are an extension of the body that people usually can’t easily control. Try and focus on any abrupt changes. Did someone place their hands under the table as they speak? They might be hiding something, or are feeling uncomfortable with what they’re saying. If they’re standing you’ll see their hands g into their pockets.

On the other hand, when people flash their palms, they’re telling their truth— which may or may not always be the truth, but it’s the truth under which they are operating. When you’re selling something, you need to incorporate their truth into whatever questions or ideas you bring to them .

This could be as simple as what they’re telling you about their budget or satisfaction with an option on a proposal. This motion happens really fast and looks very natural so believe it when you see it the first time.

  1. Body Language Mastery – The Face Doesn’t Lie

In order to become a true human lie detector you’ll need lots of focus. Listen to what they’re saying but also watch how their face changes as soon as you ask a tough question.

Did they roll their lips over their teeth? Did their mouth disappear completely? They’re thinking of what to say. The thing is honest people don’t need to THINK about their answer. They KNOW the answer and go straight to telling you the truth.

Covering the Mouth to Cover the Truth

Whenever you see someone cover their mouth, further questioning is in order to get to the truth . It happens quickly and can look very natural. But, don’t be fooled! Keep asking until you get to the truth. Sometimes saying something as simple as “It seems like you’ve got more you want to say,” can get them to open up.

Also, if you’re asking tough questions people may begin to scratch their face. This usually happens as a result of anxiety over that question. Once they decide to lie their blood pressure will raise causing tiny facial capillaries to dilate. The result is an itching sensation that is super hard to resist.

Follow this with a few unrelated questions to investigate their natural tendency to touch their face. If they stop with this behavior you’ve got yourself a liar.

Authors note: Don’t incriminate based on face scratching alone. You’ll want to see other signs as well before you make a decision about them telling the truth or not.

  1. Body Language Mastery – The Body Never Lies

I admit, it is not easy to focus on all the clues of deception at once, but a general rule of thumb can be applied to the changing position of the speakers’ body. Are they moving toward you, or away from you? The natural human response to danger is to distance yourself from it.

In our scenario, YOU represent the danger because you threaten the liar’s comfortable position, so when they’re trying to deceive you, they will move away from you.

Shrugging shoulders are a universal sign of someone not being certain of what they are saying. They’re not necessarily lying to you, but they’re also not as confident about the truth as they would like to be.

  1. Body Language Mastery – The Eyes Speak Volumes

The key in lie detection is to notice when people suddenly shift their eye patterns as they give answers during a line of questioning.

For example, when Dr. Phil interviewed Burke Ramsey on his involvement in the death of his sister, Jon Benet, he suddenly shifted from looking down and to the viewer’s right just before each answer about what happened that evening to looking down and to the viewer’s left when asked point blank “Did you kill Jon Benet?” In this case, that’s a big red flag.

Discover More About Eye Patterns Here 

  1. Body Language Mastery – Feet Trying to Run While the Body is Standing Still

People can be trained on body language, to give out an impression of confidence, especially if they speak in front of an audience. The body part that is the hardest to control are the feet.

If people are answering tough questions in front of an audience (like at a press conference or interview), they might look like they’re rocking and fidgeting. This comes as a result of feelings attributed to anxiety and stress.

Their unconscious mind is saying “Danger! We’ve got run!” but their conscious mind says, “We need to stay.” The feet try to run, but the body doesn’t go anywhere. Fidgeting in front of an audience is not a sign of lying, but it’s definitely a sign that the person doesn’t want to be there.

  1. Body Language Mastery – Pacifiers That Could Show Deception

Just as some babies need pacifiers to calm them down, grownups do certain things to relieve tension. You may notice cracking knuckles, hugging one’s self, tapping/drumming fingers, coughing, swallowing hard, and clearing their throat, yawning, rocking, bouncing, wiggling, crossing legs (watch for timing on this one) hair touching, twirling, or stroking.

Some of these behaviors could be done out of habit – BUT if the person has been open and confident and all of a sudden switches to one or more of these, it is a BIG hot spot.

Social Media has helped employers bust deceitful employees so many times. Take a look at the example of Ryan Crissey, a Daycare owner:

“All my funny stories involve employees missing work, claiming to be sick, in a car wreck, etc. Then, they bust themselves on social media. One even sent us pictures of “her” wrecked car. A quick Google Image search showed that the picture was taken in Pennsylvania two years prior.”


Set Yourself Up to Succeed

While it’s important to be able to read the body language of the person talking to you, there are also certain things YOU need to do to ensure successful ‘interrogation.’

  • Avoid finger pointing – You do not want to make the person feel uncomfortable as they could completely shut down and stop cooperating with you;
  • Refrain from showing emotions – Don’t leak when you believe or not. Liars will work to embellish their story. Give them enough rope, and they’ll hang themselves.
  • Focus on their story as well as body movements, try and catch the first honest reaction their arms and legs will show;
  • Do not judge the person you’re questioning – Liars will shut down if they think you’re against them.
  • Agree with them even if it goes against your better judgment – Agreeing with your suspect can help lead them down the path to tell you more and make it seem okay to admit what they did.
  • Give the person you’re questioning at least 18 inches of personal space – If you get into their space too much, it can make them nervous, and nervous signs can be misinterpreted as lies.

Learn How to Read People by Hiring a Body Language Expert

Understanding Body Language is a skill that can be learned. It does take some effort, but I am here to help. After mastering my online training class, you’ll perceive the world around you with a new set of eyes.

Mastering body language and understanding exactly how it works will open up a whole new world of possibilities; use your new skill to detect lies, or to create a new confident you.

Begin Your Online Training HERE

Book Traci Now


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