Spotting Corporate Fibbers

Here’s an entertaining nugget from the Economist. How to tell when your boss is lying lifts the lid on the language people use when they lie, based on an incredible 30,000 conference calls. With typical Economist brevity it’s only five paragraphs so is well worth a click. In essence, watch out for these deliberate terminological inexactitudinal tells:

“as you know…”s

avoid the word “I” (they use 3rd person instead)

“hesitation words” (ums & ers)

use fewer “non-extreme positive emotion words” (eg: use ‘fantastic’ over ‘good’)

There is a slight health warning here though I fancy, as your personal pitching should not necessarily adopt these facets.

Top sales training would advise practising pitches off pat, so that you do not use hesitation words. Also, colourful adjectives that can remain in the audience memory are to be advised, meaning ‘fantastic’ for ‘good’ is a swap in the right direction (albeit not the best choice of evocative synonym).

The first pair are worthy of implementation on your pitches though. Still, remember that this study investigated CEO & CFO level talkers, so a useful insight when you next meet them prospect-side I’m sure.

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