After many years of experience in this field, I could say that the first step in analysing body language is holding a short casual conversation with the person for a few minutes. I could look at the person in front of me and immediately understand their basic body language. Observation and learning during casual conversations help me better interpret signs that may have several meanings.
It is important to understand the background and culture of the person you are observing. Each individual has their own manner of conduct. “We shouldn’t jump to rash and decisive conclusions every time someone touches their nose during a conversation, and automatically label them a liar. It’s possible that they are simply embarrassed or maybe they have a cold. However, my experience has led me to believe that if someone touches their nose later on in the conversation, they may have felt uncomfortable and raised their defences. Someone with a keen eye will know how to identify these occurrences”,said Haim Toledano Body language expert.
5 Signs that may Indicate a Lie
This could indicate a lie but it could also be due to hyperactivity or back problems. There are many reasons to feel uncomfortable; it all depends on the person’s behaviour before the question that may have caused them to lie. If their basic behaviour is restless, then of course body movements do not indicate anything. However, if a person was perfectly calm, and a question I asked them made them restless, the answer they provide could be unreliable.
- No Blinking
Avoiding blinking is difficult. If the person in front of you looks straight at you without blinking for a long stretch of time, they are consciously trying to convince you that they’re telling the truth. This is because looking into a person’s eyes is considered a body language that conveys honesty.
- Avoids Eye Contact
Unaware liars will look for something else to focus on in order to avoid eye contact. But in this case, you also need to understand a person’s habits and cultural differences. Some people constantly break eye contact as a natural habit – it doesn’t necessarily mean they are lying.
- Touching their Nose
Touching one’s nose could be a result of a cold, an allergy or embarrassment. However, if it follows a manipulative question, this may be a classic indication of a lie. This is because hormones are released in the brain, and the blood flow to the nose and eyes change, causing a tingling sensation on the sides of the nose and upper lip.
- Smiling and Laughing.
When someone lies, they may have an unconscious tendency to smile and laugh. It’s as though the body is smiling to itself and saying “you believed my story”. This is generally caused by an embarrassment of telling the lie.
When labelling someone a liar, I look out for a variety of body language indications, not just one.
Major changes in a person’s body language are one of the clearest indications of a lie. For example, if a person speaks openly using their hands, and suddenly closes up and hides them after being questioned about something, their body language may be indicating distress.
A lie can also be detected over the phone – a change to a person’s rhythm of speech, a dramatic rise or drop in one’s tone, a stop to the flow of speech or stammering and long pauses, are all clear indications of distress.
Haim Toledano Body language expert, personal and organizational consultant and group facilitator for the past ten years.