Lie to Me

Smarter procurement through science-based people skills

Consider the edge you would have in negotiations if you could spot the clues which indicate when it's smarter to pull back or when to turn up the heat. Imagine how valuable it would be to know when you are receiving false information or when someone is calling your bluff.

Deception Detection, a Roundtable Issues Workshop, recently considered the very ‘hard’ science that lies
behind so called ‘soft’ or people skills. 

Roundtable Program Manager, Julie Egonidis explains: “Procurement professionals must be skilled in the ability to accurately read the signals and feedback given by others in a variety of business settings.”

Stemming from the research findings of eminent Dr Paul Ekman, emotional awareness and the science associated with examining truth and deception are revealing techniques now taught not only to security experts and specialist security staff, but also business people.

Partnering with Ekman-accredited training firm Training Group International and El Asia Pacific to deliver The Roundtable workshop, participants were introduced to the seven universal emotions which, with the right training, you can learn to recognise, improve your ability to evaluate credibility and detect deception in any situation.

According to Ekman trainer, Lizz Corbett, some people reveal a lot through their facial expressions, others less so. Still others give off a great deal of information from their non-verbal actions and there are still more nuances associated with the spoken word; things like inflection, pitch and tone”.

“Inability to effectively read people is a major obstacle to successful communication and detrimental to creating effective relationships,” says Lizz.

She goes on: “We are bombarded with so much information on a daily basis that we can become cognitive misers. We take short-cuts and we can be selective in what data we actually process; needless to say, such a selection process conforms to our previously held biases or beliefs.”

“The good news is that we are all hot-wired to receive and interpret data through the five channels and, with training and practice, we can become very skilled.”

The bad news, according to Lizz, is that there is no single indicator of deception - there is no Pinocchio’s nose - so we must work hard by paying greater attention to all the information available. We need to develop acute observation and active listening techniques - essential skills for all professionals and business people.”

Below, Lizz dispels some of the myths discussed in the workshop that might just come in handy next time you sit down at the negotiation table:

Three things you think you know about lying but are wrong


Studies have shown people who lie sometimes make more rather than less eye contact. It turns out they often want to see if you believe them or not. The hotspot is around changes in eye contact and the timing of the changes.


You might just be a naturally 'wriggly person' or it could indicate you're experiencing emotional strain. It doesn't necessarily mean you are lying. Again it’s about timing and changes from baseline.


It doesn't necessarily mean they're lying. It all depends on baseline and context. Is this something they would normally have to think about to respond? Are they under stress? Is there a shift from normative behaviour?

Join Commercial Leaders – The Faculty Group on LinkedIn to learn more about Deception Detection and access Lizz’s advice to LinkedIn Group members on Three Ways to Spot a Liar. Join here

The science of Dr Ekman's research is now available through a series of training programs that teach individuals and teams how to see and read behaviour they previously would have missed. Unravel a deeper understanding about truth, lies and human emotion and see the difference it can make in your professional and your personal life.

Based in Melbourne and Sydney and training throughout Australia and New Zealand, Training Group International 1300 855 618 and EI Asia Pacific +61 2 8901 5606 are the only two approved licensees of Dr Paul Ekman's programs in this region.