Every day, we’re lied to 10 to 200 times on average, and sprinkle in our own fibs as well.
In her book, “Liespotting,” author Pamela Meyer delves into the cues of deception while culling advice from deception recognition experts on the telltales of lying—and how little lies lead to trust and team building. In this first installment of our “Liar, Liar” series, learn why lying is actually an integral part of developing and maintaining positive business relationships and peer-to-peer connections.
Four Facts About Lying:
Lying is a Cooperative Act
The power of a lie happens at buy-in. Sometimes, it’s a conscious buy-in like saving face for the sake of social dignity, e.g. pretending not to know about “much ado gossip” or a client’s recent misfortune. Letting people off the hook for these is really about acknowledging our own imperfections. And in business, that can be a good thing that actually builds long-term relationships. Destructive lies are also cooperative. Even when we’re unaware that we are being deceived human nature dictates that we constantly parse out the truth to suit our own needs.
Lying Bridges the Gap
Strangers, like many of the attendees at your meetings, incentives and conventions, tend to lie at least three times in the first 10 minutes of meeting. Why? Research shows that lying bridges the gap of who we are with who we want to be and how we want to be seen.
Lying Has Evolutionary Value
Scientifically speaking, the more intelligent a species is the larger its neocortex (where higher-order brain functions take place) and its capacity for lying. Learning the complexities of lying is somewhat of a rite of passage from the time we are babies to our college years—fake cries, the art of concealment, bluffs, lies, flattery, cover-ups. Men tend to lie eight times more about themselves than to other people; women lie more to protect other people; extroverts lie more than introverts and married couples lie to each other in one out of every 10 interactions. Lying, in a sense, is a form of survival. This survivalist instinct carries over to your business interactions quite naturally.
Lies Are Wishes in the Cauldron
Freud said it best: “No mortal can keep a secret. If his lips are silent, he chatters with his fingertips.” Lies are really a trail of breadcrumbs that lead to truth. And, being a species that is downright masterful at self-deception almost ensures that we’re not always in control of our lies. Freud said the unconscious mind (the foundation of 90 percent of our human interactions) acts as a repository or cauldron for primitive wishes and impulses. This means that even calculated lies have a background story that is mostly unknown to the one who tells them. Your job is to scoop out those wishes with a spoon to give attendees what they really want and need from your event.
Our second installment of “Liar, Liar” will delve into liespotting on the job and how to use these skills to your advantage. Stay tuned.