Can You Distinguish Truth From Lies?

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Listen to Elly Johnson, Truth Leader at Truthability, as she presents “Can you distinguish truth from lies?”.

A dangerous skills gap for many people is knowing how to get the truth from a person who is motivated to hide or twist it, especially in high-stake situations.

Elly Johnson

Truth seeking is more than simply asking questions and evaluating the content of what is being said. Understanding the psychological, emotional, personal and contextual aspects are all important parts of the information gathering puzzle. The skills required to notice and read verbal and non-verbal behaviour, create a truth telling environment, and spot signs of deliberate deception are essential to gathering accurate information to identify risk, make informed decisions, and take the required action.

The average success in spotting deception is commonly quoted at just over 50%, although research shows that it is less than that, when you take into consideration the truth bias held by many people. Believing a lie can be as dangerous a conclusion as disbelieving the truth. Understanding personal bias and its effect on information gathering, discussions, investigations or enquiries is an important factor when seeking the truth. Also critical is an awareness of the motivations for deception and how the truth-seeker can influence the outcome of a given interaction.

These behavioural skills are essential for leaders, teachers, salespeople, interviewers, managers, investigators and anyone who wants to build stronger connections, encourage trust and gather more accurate information.

This presentation touches on five of the key factors that can affect your success in evaluating truthfulness and credibility of information. In addition, factors such as memory gaps, personal motivations, and mental health issues all need to be considered when gathering and evaluating information. In situations where intentional deception is likely, applying methods to encourage truth from the start or turn a lie back to the truth can save time, minimise risk, and result in more informed decisions.

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