Every day you rely on what people tell you when making business, political and life decisions. The problem is, how do you know if what people are telling you is the truth?
The wrong decision based on a someone else’s lie can harm relationships, put you out of business, and destroy your reputation in the community. When it comes to politics, a lie can turn love into hate and peace into war.
As a trial lawyer, I’m always challenged to try and figure out if my jurors, witnesses, and opposing counsel are being honest. In high-profile cases, it’s tough to determine if reporters are truthful with why they want to do an interview or have me on a panel.
It’s never easy but, over the past three decades of using the approaches I’ve outlined below, I’ve gotten pretty good at figuring our who is telling me the truth and who is lying. After you apply and practice what I share in this post, I think you’ll also have a much better handle on who’s a straight shooter and who’s trying to pull the wool over your eyes.
Some of the approaches I share with you in this post are based upon things I’ve learned from personal experience while fighting my client’s legal battles in court. Others are concepts and approaches I’ve learned from judges and from studying decades of research by talented psychologist, psychiatrist and other professionals. While you’ll never be 100% sure if the person you’re talking to or watching on television or a livestream is telling you the truth, the use of these approaches will help you get much better at making this determination.
Three-Step Approach (When You Can Plan Ahead)
The easiest way for me to tell if someone is lying is when I’m able to use what I call the “Three-Step” approach. Before talking with someone, I determine certain facts that are true and then when we meet, I ask the person about those facts. I watch how he responds to my questions and how he acts during the conversation. It’s a easy to follow process and you can do the same thing.
For example, before I take a person’s deposition or cross-examining a witness during the trial, I spend time on Google, Nimble, and social media to learn facts about that person. You can do the same thing before lunch or office meeting.
Let’s say the person I’m negotiating with just returned from a family trip to Italy. I know this because during the journey, he shared his journey and pictures on Facebook and Instagram.