Liar, liar: your eyes give it away

Ask someone a question and they look up to the right and then left before answering — beware. They’re probably lying.

Ask someone a question and they look up to the right and then left before answering — beware.

They’re probably lying. Looking right means they’re recalling the truth; the left glance means they are now concocting their answer.

Unless they’re left-handed. Then it’s left and right. How about the eyes? They’re called the windows to the soul for a reason.

If you’re about to close that big deal and the other person’s pupils start shrinking to dots, or their blinking gets cranked up a few notches — again, watch out.

Those were just a few of the tips from Will Bilozir, who was in Red Deer Friday to share his insight into catching the truth-impaired in the act for auctioneers gathered for their 76th Annual Convention of the Auctioneers’ Association of Alberta at the Black Knight Inn.

Bilozir, who has taught his tips to business students at Calgary’s Mount Royal College, is a rancher, inventor and entrepreneur from De Winton, south of Calgary, who has developed new kinds of potatoes and apples, and imports fine shotguns from Europe. His interest in detecting lying cues stems from teaching business courses in the mid-1990s and he has also become an expert in handwriting analysis, offering his expertise to auction houses and banks.

Posture, stance, tone of voice, speaking speed, gestures and arm, hand and head movements can all provide subtle hints that the words coming out of someone’s mouth shouldn’t be taken at face value, he said.

And don’t forget the feet. “The thing about feet and legs is most people are completely unaware what their feet are doing,” said Bilozir.

If someone is standing there twisting one toe like they are putting out a cigarette, they’re saying they can’t wait to get out of there. A tapping toe is another giveaway.

Wondering if that cheque is rubber? Watch out for those who write out cheques carefully and deliberately, or the ones who show up with one already filled out and leave quickly.

Here’s another one. If the U.S. Homeland Security folks ask if you have any alcohol and tobacco on you, don’t say, “No, I do not,” instead of the more usual “I don’t.” Unusually formal responses are a tip-off that you have spent a lot of time thinking about your answer ahead of time — and a ticket to the extra-search line.

For all of these signs there’s a caveat though, said Bilozer. The human equation means there are exceptions to all rules and even what seem like sure-fire tells are only right 19 times out of 20. Some honest people just act like liars.

Your best bet is to know the person you’re dealing with and notice any changes in their usual habits and manners. And when you get a funny feeling that something is up, don’t ignore it. The subconscious spots things of which your conscious self is not aware.

As he said to the audience, “The one parting thing I will give you is, ‘Trust your gut.’”

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com