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How to Observe Body Language to Uncover the Truth

“To uncover the truth, expose its darkness.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert

When you negotiate, what body language gestures do you observe to uncover the truth? Do you seek insights from gestures, intonations, and other signs to validate when you suspect the truth is being violated? If so, exactly what do you look for?

You can gain great insight about someone’s truthfulness via their body language, and negotiate better, by arming yourself with the following information.

Body Language

Before you can accurately interpret someone’s body language, you must establish their baseline. That baseline will allow you to more accurately assess and compare the body language gestures the other negotiator exhibits more accurately during the negotiation. To form his baseline, observe his mannerisms when he’s in a non-threatening environment.

Our body seeks to maintain a constant state of comfort. When it’s out of that state, it will commit actions to put itself back into that state (e.g. babies cry for attention when they’ve soiled themselves, adults feeling overly aggrieved strike out in anger to get even and soothe themselves, etc.). During the body’s state of discomfort, observe signs like, rubbing of the hands, touching one’s face/neck/arm/leg, etc., to validate the state of mind that person is in; those signs are called comfort gestures. The person emitting the behavior is attempting to comfort himself; that person’s body is attempting to put itself back into a state of comfort.

When you see the gestures noted above, assess what has caused that person to experience discomfort. Was it something he said? If so, he may have entered a state of untruthfulness. If you sense that might be the case, consider questioning him about your suspicion. Or, you can progress the conversation and note when other comfort gestures are exhibited. The second, third, etc., iteration of such signals will add to the possibility that he’s violating the truth.


When a person speaks, note their intonations. It will lend insight into what they believe to be more important than other aspects of what they’re saying. As an example, if someone said, “I’m not sure if that’s the whole truth.” The word(s) they placed the most emphasis on would denote what’s important to them. Thus, if the emphasis was on “whole”, there may be more that’s undisclosed. Once again, if you think that’s the case, probe to get to the root of the possible deception.

When it comes to intonations, observe what causes someone to alter their speaking pattern. Remember, the body seeks a constant state of comfort. Thus, if someone alters their speaking pace, they’re doing so due to the stimuli that put them into that mood. The behavior may be due to their contemplating what to say to complete their thought. If you sense they’re concealing the truth, consider how and when you’ll challenge them.

Once you become astute at reading body language gestures, you’ll uncover secret cues that indicate when someone’s not being forthright. You’ll become a human lie detector … and everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating! 

After reading this article, what are you thinking? I’d really like to know. Reach me at Greg@TheMasterNegotiator.com

To receive Greg’s free “Negotiation Tip of the Week” and the “Sunday Negotiation Insight” click here http://www.TheMasterNegotiator.com/greg-williams/

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How Do You Know When To Trust The Truth?

“The truth is the opposite of a lie that’s believable. Watch what you believe!” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert

“You don’t know what the truth looks like, even though I’ve recited it numerous times to you through my ever-changing story.”

What does the truth feel like, sound like, look like, when you feel it, hear it, see it? How do you determine to what degree the truth has been told? The truth can be fluid. That means, we know what the truth is today, based on what we’ve known to be truthful in the past. Then, as greater insight, discoveries, and other machinations are introduced into our environment, a new truth can emerge.

It’s important to understand how you discern what you perceive to be the truth because others can manipulate you, based on what they know of your ability to distinguish between fact from fiction.

To become more cognizant as to when someone might be engaging in the truth, versus having no relationship with it at all, take note of the following insights.

Demeanor – Yours and Theirs:

Always note the demeanor of someone when they engage with you. In particular, note to what degree they feel at ease, uptight, or normal (whatever that is as it relates to their demeanor); you can observe this by noting how they act/respond in un-stressful environments. The non-stressful environment will become the basis from which to make and compare future assessments. You should also be mindful of how you feel as the result of being with the person that’s speaking to you. Your demeanor will put you into a particular mindset that sets your perception and expectations about that person’s ability to tell the truth.


When it comes to truthfulness versus deception, you know more than you think you do. When was the last time you had a ‘feeling’ about whether someone was telling you the truth? What did you experience? Was it something they said, the way they said it, or maybe the way they looked when they said/did it. When you had that sensation, your intuitiveness had kicked in; something triggered it. If you were aware through which senses you perceived such signals, you can use the same sense(s) to heighten your awareness in the future. Never discount a gut feeling. That’s your subconscious mind beckoning your attention.

Story In Order:

When people lie, they tend to fill their story with detail and they’ll attempt to tell their story in a chronological order. To catch such a perpetrator, take one aspect of his story and slightly change it as you recite it back to him; don’t let on that you’re doing so to see if he corrects you, or agrees to your version of his story. If he doesn’t correct you, do the same with another section of his story to see what he does. If he lets that one go too, feign forgetfulness and ask him to repeat the story. Note to what degree the story changes from the original version. To the degree that it does, you’ll know where the lie lies.

Body Language:

When someone is being truthful, their body language is aligned with their words (i.e. hand and eye movements are synched with words). If you note subtle changes in their demeanor, as they profess to tell you the truth, note the question you posed that caused such a reaction. The question you posed, and their reaction to it, will be a guidepost that indicates the degree that you may be uncovering their lack of truthfulness.

There are many reasons why someone may wish to avoid being 100% truthful with you. If you set the ‘right’ environment, observe the storyteller’s body language, and you’re mindful of this person’s demeanor you’ll create the space in which more of the truth can reside … and everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating! 

After reading this article, what are you thinking? I’d really like to know. Reach me at Greg@TheMasterNegotiator.com

To receive Greg’s free 5-minute video on reading body language or to sign up for the “Negotiation Tip of the Week” and the “Sunday Negotiation Insight” click here http://www.themasternegotiator.com/greg-williams/

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