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Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire

Short post today.  We’ve got a few clients who are pedaling hard (perhaps peddling hard as well), trying to wrap up Q2, and I’ve been on the phone… BTW If you’re a sales leader and reading this today, June 30, you either work for a privately-held company, are way ahead of your targets for the quarter or… we’ll leave it at that.

I read my first book about body language in 1991, when I was living in Europe.  To say it opened my mind is an understatement.  (Didn’t Woody Allen say that it’s great to have an open mind so long as your brain doesn’t fall out?)  In any case, I’ve been studying body language and other non-verbal cues ever since.  That skill has really paid off when it comes to assessing whether someone is being truthful or not (prospects, our clients’ sales VPs, my airplane mechanic, etc.). 

That’s one of the reasons I wanted to read A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink.  Being a strong left-brainer, I wanted to understand why he asserted that it was the right-brainers that would thrive in the next decade.  He makes a strong case.

Among the many advantages of right-brainers, Pink writes, is being able to discern the real meaning behind facial expressions.  So I studied up a bit on real versus fake smiles.  Hint:  It’s in the eyes.  Then I took this test.  Pink was right.  It worked!  I scored 18 out of 20 on my first try.

I highly recommend Pink’s book.  There is a lot that I wasn’t particularly interested in, but the points I did get are big ones.   Here is one (excerpted from the book using my Kindle, which I also recommend): 

… for instance, both Ekman and Nancy Etcoff, a  psychologist at Massachusetts General Hospital in  Boston, have shown that most of us are astonishingly bad at detecting when someone is  lying. When we try to determine from another’s  facial expressions or tone of voice if that person is fibbing, we don’t do much better than if we had offered random guesses. But aphasics—people  with damage to their brain’s left hemisphere that  compromises their ability to speak and  understand language—are exceptionally good lie  detectors. By reading facial cues, Etcoff found, they can spot liars more than 70 percent of the time.  The reason: since they can’t receive one channel  of communication, they’re better at interpreting  the other, more expressive channel.

Here is another point:

…research by [Daniel] Goleman and the Hay Group has found that within organizations, the most effective leaders were  funny (that is, funny ha-ha, not funny strange).  These leaders had their charges laughing three times more often than their managerial counterparts.

Good stuff!


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