Global Leadership Speaker and Premier Work-Life Balance Speaker
Speaking Information at (727) 467-0202 or e-mail

A Moment of Truth

Why do people lie, manipulate, undermine, and stab others in the back? Because they can. If you think it’s time for a moment of truth and to confront someone, be realistic. Do you really expect a backstabber to suddenly develop a conscience and tell you everything? When someone is trying to do something underhanded, it is unlikely he or she is going to stop everything and confess the minute you become suspicious—at least, not without a little help.

Let me dig into my arsenal of tools from my years as an investigative reporter and tell you a little about being effective in the middle of confrontation. First, people often lie through omission and/or embellishment. Think of how many times you’ve asked someone a question only to get an answer to exactly what you’ve asked, and nothing more. The person knows full well what you are after, but he or she doesn’t have to volunteer anything.

Remember Bill Clinton in his grand jury testimony? If the President of the United States can hide the truth by arguing the meaning of the word “is,” then imagine what the people around you can do. Teenagers will do it every time. “Did you sneak out in the car after we went to bed?” you might ask. You’ll get a straight answer of “no,” because the kid had the nerve to steal off with your car while you were still awake!

Watch out for certain red-flag words and phrases that will alert you to a liar almost every time. When you start hearing someone say, “Trust me,” “To be 100 percent honest,” “Believe me,” and “Honestly,” listen very, very closely. Red flags! If you hear things like, “Not that I can remember,” “To the best of my knowledge,” “Why would I,” “Do you think I’m so stupid that I would,” pay especially close attention. All of those phrases are designed to throw you off, but when you get the drill, you can be even more effective. If a question is answered with another question, take note because the person may be deciding whether to lie or tell the truth, or debating how big of a lie to tell. When those tricks don’t work, he or she might try a memory lapse, and try to throw you off with a simple, “Not that I can think of” or, “To the best of my knowledge.” What do you do when that happens? Try saying, “Well, I think you need to try a little harder,” or, “That technique doesn’t work with me.”

Leave a Reply