I’m always disappointed when a liar’s pants don’t actually catch fire

“I’m always disappointed when a liar’s pants don’t actually catch fire.”

—Eric Barker, author of WSJ bestseller Barking Up The Wrong Tree

Image from Unsplash by Pawel Czerwinski

What clues do you use to tell if someone is lying to you? Words alone do not tell the whole story, and many experts suggest we examine the 93% of communication that is nonverbal.

Some things to look for:

The hands can be a good place to start. People who lie are more likely to use both of their hand to make gestures.  They also tend to face their palms away from the person they are lying to, an unconscious move that indicates they are purposefully withholding information. They may even put their hands up to their mouths briefly, a sign there is something they don’t want to reveal.

The mouth is another area to examine. Pursing or tensing the lips is a reflex often seen that indicates that a person may be lying by omission and does not want to say more about a topic.

The eyes can also offer a window into someone who is lying. Not looking someone in the eyes or even a stare down hyper focus can offer clues. Rapid blinking is another tell to consider.


Consider checking out Eric Barker’s new book Plays Well with Others to discover his “Cognitive Load” technique to lie detection along with many other witty and scientifically backed ideas to enhance our capacities to work and relate better with others.