Management: What To Do When You Catch A Liar

November 18, 2015

Studies show that people lie two to three times during a ten-minute conversation. Let's give that a minute to sink in… So if that's true, it follows that we don't catch people in a lie very often. How we handle it when we do makes all the difference.

Since we only catch people in a lie about half the time, says Dr. Travis Bradberry, "When you do catch someone lying to you, it’s usually a real whopper—in these moments, you want to keep the conversation constructive, without letting the liar off the hook, which is a difficult thing to pull off."

Sometimes the best response is to do nothing, particularly in a work situation, Bradberry says. But when a lie is too big to ignore, responding with humor is an effective way to acknowledge the lie while suggesting the liar must have been kidding or mistaken. Playing dumb and asking a lot of follow-up questions can also defuse the situation while giving the liar an opportunity to "correct" themselves.

Sometimes the situation requires the nuclear strategy. But if you call them on it, be sure you have your facts straight and figure out the proper way to go about it.


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