Management Tip of the Day: Three ways to spot a liar

BOSTON Thu Aug 25, 2011 9:02am EDT

U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) pauses as he announces that he will resign from the United States House of Representatives during a news conference in Brooklyn, New York, June 16, 2011. REUTERS/Mike Segar

U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) pauses as he announces that he will resign from the United States House of Representatives during a news conference in Brooklyn, New York, June 16, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Mike Segar

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BOSTON (Reuters) - In business there are no shortage of lies and manipulation at all levels, but there are some behavioral clues that can be used to detect the liars, says Harvard Business Review.

The Harvard Management Tip of the Day offers quick, practical management tips and ideas from Harvard Business Review and HBR.org (www.hbr.org). Any opinions expressed are not endorsed by Reuters.

"In today's business world, there is no shortage of lies. People tell them all the time -- sometimes to seek a payoff or avoid responsibility. But these untruths can be hard to detect, especially in complex situations.

Look out for these three signs that you're being lied to:

1. Discomfort. People who lie often demonstrate visible anxiety. This may be because they're afraid of getting caught or they feel guilty. Be on the look-out for a fake smile, frozen body language, or lack of eye contact.

2. Evasiveness. Someone who withholds information or keeps the conversation vague may not be telling the truth.

3. Manipulation. When you ask a question, people lying may answer with more detail than necessary. They may also use overly explicit language for emphasis. Watch out for this kind of manipulation."

-- Today's management tip was adapted from "To Catch a Liar" by Bill Rosenthal and Carolyn M. Anderson.

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