I was running around getting ready for my trip and working on a blog redesign, when I ran across something that really sparked my interest, but is completely off-topic for this blog. It’s this press interview of Lance Armstrong denying Floyd Landis’ accusations of doping.
I don’t have a horse in this race, and I’ve never really understood why cyclists aren’t allowed to use the same performance enhancers that anyone else could buy straight from their local health and nutrition store, but I was mesmerized by Armstrong’s interview because ven as he is denying the accusations, his body is betraying him in the most painful way.
Most of us are bad liars, which is a good thing. Good liars usually fall somewhere on the sociopathic personality disorder spectrum, and you should run, run quickly away from them. However, most of us are also bad at spotting liars, or at least we prefer to keep our illusion of the world intact. Being able to spot a liar is a useful skill to have, and one that can be honed with a little training and practice.
I would recommend Mr. Armstrong implement the following changes:
1. When defending yourself against assaults on your good reputation and character, DO NOT speak in a low key voice best reserved for a priest in a confessional. When innocent people are accused of crimes they didn’t commit, they become indignant. They rail against the injustices they’ve had to endure. You can hear the innocence in their voice. Work hard on this.
2. DO NOT keep your eyes downcast, your face down, your head darting this way and that. This does not inspire confidence. The innocent stand firm in their conviction and are known to lock eyes with all who question them. Some liars do this too, but you can spot their ruse.
3. DO NOT shrug your shoulders up and down as you speak (at 22 sec., 34 – 40 sec, and 1:08). This is in direct contradiction to what you’re saying. Stop it.
4. DO NOT clench your lips together to keep yourself from telling the truth (1:41, 1:48, 2:02). Dude!
5. DO NOT make counter-accusations to deflect blame — it’s juvenile and smacks of desperation. Focus on defending yourself, ‘the innocent.’
6. DO NOT say that you have nothing to hide and nothing to run from, and then tightly cross your arms in front of your chest like a man who has everything to hide (1:34). Most people think liars are best spotted by eye movement, but the body reveals more than the eyes.
7. In the name of all that is holy, DO NOT clasp your hands together in prayer and then put them through a motion reminiscent of Pontius Pilate symbolically washing away his sins. (2:03) Are you kidding me?
If you’d like to hone your innate skills in spotting a lie, some good books to read are Telling Lies by Paul Ekman; Never be Lied to Again by David J. Lieberman, and The Truth About Lying by Stan B. Walters.
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