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Who can you believe?

Success in business undeniably requires some willingness to have faith in others.

If you think about it, you can’t even get to the contract stage of a deal without first assessing the trust and confidence of the individuals involved.

Which means you’ve got to be practiced in the art of reading people when dealing with partners, clients, job candidates, and outside vendors. You‘ve got to make sure they are who they say they are.

FBI investigators and counterintelligence experts have a well-documented playbook when it comes to determining if a person is being deceptive. Here are the highlights:

  1. Empathy lowers defenses. Being a “good cop”, instead of being cold and accusatory, gets the person to open up more.
  2. Surprise them. Ask them something they’re not expecting and they’ll stumble.
  3. Liars overdo it. People with something to hide often speak louder, longer, faster and with more complex sentences that hide the truth.
  4. Listen to how they say “no.” A person is often being deceptive when they say “no” after hesitating; say “noooooo” in an elongated manner; say “no” in singsong (voice rising at the end.)
  5. Watch their words. Using too many extreme superlatives such as “tremendous”, “gigantic”, and “brilliant”, when “big” and “good” will do is a sign of dishonesty.

An honest person is going to be cooperative. They’re going to be enthusiastic and helpful about getting you to the truth – whether it’s good or bad.

Unlike the FBI, it’s not your job to prosecute liars.

But it is your job to cut through the crap, connect honestly, and get the best outcomes for you and your business.

Have a great week.

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