You’d love it if all your employees told you the whole truth all the time. But you know it’s just not so.

Sometimes a fib or exaggeration may be harmless, or have so little impact that it’s not worth pursuing. But sometimes – like during complaint investigations, evaluations or progress reports – lies can be very harmful, and you want to catch them.

Digging deeper
Pamela Meyer, author of a recent best-selling book on detecting lies and liars, says there are a number of verbal clues to watch for. Their presence doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve got a Pinocchio on your hands, but it does mean you’d be well advised to dig deeper.

Here are five of these clues:

  • Stilted, formal speech. This sometimes takes the form of an avoidance of contractions: “I did not,” rather than “I didn’t.”
  • “Distancing” language: “I never touched that woman,” rather than “I never touched Ellen.”
  • Repeating a question. This may be a tactic to buy time to concoct a response: “You’re asking what time I locked the safe and left the office last night?”
  • Qualifications. Examples: “As far as I can recall … to the best of my knowledge … as far as I know.”
  • Overly emphatic language. “I swear on my mother’s grave,” or “May God strike me dead if it’s not so.”

Source: “Liespotting: Proven Techniques to Detect Deception,” by Pamela Meyer.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  • Rapid Learning Institute 1510 Chester Pike, Suite 310 Eddystone, PA 19022

  • Toll Free: (877) 792-2172
  • Contact Us

About RLI

RLI is 100% CAN-SPAM compliant. We're dedicated to protecting your privacy. We will NEVER sell or share your email address and will promptly honor all unsubscribe requests.

Learn More

Connect With Us

Signup to Receive Industry-Leading Tips and News from our Experts