Masters of conversation don’t just speak and listen well. They also observe others with a keen eye.
To determine whether someone is truthful—or at least comfortable addressing the topic at hand—read body language with care. Liars don’t always sweat or fidget like crazy. Sometimes, the red flags are subtler.
“Begin by establishing the speaker’s baseline behavior,” says James Borg, the London-based author of Persuasion. “In the first five minutes when you’re both exchanging pleasantries, observe how the person acts. Then look for changes as the discussion turns more serious.”
For example, a job candidate may shake hands with confidence. He looks you in the eyes and radiates enthusiasm and friendliness as you chat about the weather. But when you ask about his work history, he starts to look down, itch his forearms and readjust his weight in his seat.
“If someone starts with an open body position but closes up when you ask about sensitive issues, that can be revealing,” Borg adds.