That’s the oldest question in the book, isn’t it? And wouldn’t things be easier if you could just ask in any situation and get a straight answer?
I bumped into a few guys who ask this regularly as part of their job. They’re part of the International Association of Real Bearded Santas. (which proves there’s an association for everything). These Santas have a conference every spring. Imagine my surprise when I bumped into 30 of them…some with wives dressed as Mrs Claus… as I walked thru the lobby of a hotel I was speaking at. I couldn’t help but stop for a picture.
Many times they hear lies in response to the naughty or nice question. What kid in their right mind would tell Santa they’ve been bad? There are presents at stake! Which brings me to my point:
People often ask me if I get exhausted watching people. My answer is no. I don’t go to the mall and read every person walking buy. Nor do I try to reveal the secrets of my friends when we go out. Why? I don’t have a reason to. There’s zero benefit to me or them. And most importantly if the stakes are low or non-existent so who cares?
Let’s apply this to one of the common things I tell you to look for. The head nod or head shake. In America and western societies a nod (up and down) means yes and a shake(left to right) means no. When the body language and words don’t match it’s a red flag that someone may be lying. Sounds simple, right?
But people move their heads to accent points all the time. When do you want to pay attention? When I it going to help you get a read on the situation? Only when it’s important and there’s something at stake: A job, a raise, a relationship or an important piece of information you need.
Paying attention at the right time can reveal secrets and help you with decision making saving you time, money and energy. Paying attention at the wrong time will leave you exhausted and overwhelmed without any meaningful information.
So pick your times. You’ll be lots more accurate at detecting lies…. And deciphering if people really have been naughty or nice.