Something about his body language caught my attention. It screamed, liar!
A man entered my car on the train and announced to everyone that he needed $15 for a train ticket to get to his 13-year old daughter. He said she was at a location where the train ended. He went on to say that someone had already given him $2.
One person gave the requester $5. From there, the requester walked through the rest of our car seeking more contributions. One gentleman said to him, ‘sit beside me – I’ll buy you a ticket.’ The requester said, okay, I’ll be right back and kept walking – he made his way out of our car and into the next one on the train. The gentleman that offered to buy the ticket and I looked at one another and smiled. We knew the requester would not be returning, and he didn’t return.
What body language gestures do you think the requester might have displayed? The man that gave our train friend $5 was taken in by his story. On the other hand, the man that offered to purchase a ticket suspected the requester’s story was illegitimate.
When reading body language, be observant of your intuition and a person’s gestures. Your intuition is very attuned to detecting lies.
Intuition is a nonverbal silent signal that secretly conveys information. If the signal was audible, you’d liken it to a knock at the door, the ringing of the phone, or a loud noise. In all cases, it attempts to attract your attention – it seeks your higher sense of awareness.
When you have an emotional sensation whose source you can’t identify, don’t discard it. Instead, raise your sense of awareness to become more attuned to the message that’s seeking your attention.
For a perspective of someone’s intent, observe their eyes, head, hands, feet movements.
Eyes – The requester on the train searched people with his eyes to detect easy marks. He was looking for those that smiled and made eye contact. People that lie will go to the extreme of displaying too much or too little eye contact. They may display too much because they’ve heard that people who lie avoid eye contact. In the latter case, they’re not aware of that. So, since they know they’re lying, they attempt to avoid eye contact to conceal it.
Head – When the requester thought someone was empathetic to his plight, he locked onto that suspect and nodded his head in that direction. The head nodding was a subliminal message stating, you and I understand one another.
Hands – Always watch someone’s hands when they’re talking. In the case of the requester, I noted that his hands moved away from him when he professed the desire to get to his daughter. And they stayed there. Had he gestured in the distance where she was supposed to be and then drew his hands back to his heart or chest as he professed his desire to get to her, he would have been more believable. As it was, his gestures said, there is no daughter at the end of the line. He just wants everyone to think there is.
Feet – When it came to the requester’s plea, once he detected that those close to him would not assist, he made quick movements to get away from that area. When someone is lying, they’ll display feet movements that attempt to put distance between themselves and the lying environment they’re in.
Being able to read body language gives you an advantage in any environment – that’s especially true when negotiating. If you’d like to have x-ray type vision that allows you to see inside of someone’s mind, enhance your ability to read body language… and everything will be right with the world.
Remember, you’re always negotiating!