Body Language: Credibility is Built on a Lot of Little Things


I recently had a conversation with someone, and all I could think was “I don’t believe a word she is saying!” What was it? I had no real way in the moment to check her facts, which could have been true, but my sense was that she was lying.

For one, her eye contact was sporadic. She looked at me occasionally, but mostly looked away, at nothing specifically. She forced a smile but always after a micro-second expression of pain and annoyance. Her questions and responses were abrupt and incomplete. And she shifted from foot to foot.For as skilled as some people may be at lying with words, only truly skilled actors and con artists can lie with body language and vocal tone. And, experts say, that the conscious affectation is always a beat behind the reflexive, true response. So, there is a micro-moment of body language truth that is revealed before we can consciously try to mask our feelings. As someone who is being lied to, we may not even be consciously aware that we detect the micro-moment of truth. But some part of us–our “intuition”–knows.

So, if you feel funny about someone, if they feel creepy, and strange, it’s a good idea to trust that feeling. After all, before our ancestors invented words, they relied on their intuition, and the ones who did lived long enough and well enough to get us where we are today.

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