Post Academic


How to Sniff Out a Workplace Lie

Posted in Transfer Your Skills by Caroline Roberts on February 5, 2011
Tags: , , ,

Image Source,Photobucket Uploader Firefox ExtensionAfter all the bankers told the masses everything was okay and then proceeded to drive the economy into the dirt, you might be wondering how to protect yourself from corporate (or academic) liars. Knowing when someone is lying might give you a hint about whether or not you should spruce up your resume and look for a job before you get laid off.

NPR did a fantastic feature on busting corporate liars, and the info might protect you from a nasty surprise. While I’m not all that impressed by body language analysis, some of the article’s tips on corporate fake-speak are useful. Here’s what you should watch out for during quarterly corporate pep rallies:

Saying nothing will change after a big change. I’ve seen this a little too often. Here’s the scenario: A management shakeup occurs, and all of a sudden you have a new boss or your boss has a new boss. The second a higher-up tells you “Nothing’s going to change,” they might be fibbing. They might not be malicious, as they may want to believe what they’re saying, but you still need to polish up your resume.

More after the jump! Image of polygraph results by DENKernel from Wikimedia Commons, public domain.

Gratuitous goodness. Either business is good, or it isn’t. Going over the top and saying “everything’s spectacular!” is a sign of trouble. No one likes a Negative Nelly or Pessimist Polly, but a little sour is always a good sign in expense reports. It means your management isn’t complacent. Any general biz update needs at least one or two negatives to feel legit.

Filler words that aren’t “um,” “like” or “dude.” Psychology Today recently offered advice on a “poor man’s polygraph,” and one of the tips is “When you ask someone a direct Yes or No question and they begin their answer with the word ‘Well,’ there is a high probability of deception.” The speaker has been caught off guard and needs a moment to cook up a lie. This tip is a good reason to ask a targeted yes or no question during any meeting that involves the health of your employer. And the result will be far more reliable than those polygraphs they bust out on “For the Love of Ray J.”

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