Lie to Me: Lying in Negotiations by Telling the Truth: How to Recognize Lying and Spot the BS

Well, I think I’ve learned a new word here!

Platering means an active use of deception using truthful statements. It’s the highest form of BS, because it uses truths to sell you on some BS belief, idea, or a deal that you will likely come to regret later, because you did not have an accurate assessment of what you are getting yourself into.

This post is on how to spot a liar or recognize when someone is BS’ing or manipulating you by making seemingly truthful statements, while omitting important, often critical details.

First of all, my take on this is that giving the wrong impression by design is essentially lying, except in negotiations, it’s even worse than lying outright, since another person will likely be making costly business decisions based on someone’s paltering or lying by omission.

I have seen this play out way too many times, but if you negotiate often, you can learn to recognize it.

How to tell when someone is being less than honest?

People act weird when they do it, but it’s usually very subtle. They either act a bit too enthusiastic (to compensate for the lack of confidence in what they are saying), as they look you straight in the eyes, or they may seem just a tiny bit unnatural/uncomfortable when they do it.

If you suspect you are at a risk of being deceived, then have a game plan in place to spot inconsistent or incomplete story lines.

In terms of using your senses effectively, you have to establish the baseline for how your counterpart acts when they are 100% comfortable and confident or feel at ease. Use some small talk to get a good sense for what their baseline is, first. Then, pay attention to their body language, tone of voice, inconsistencies, omissions or exaggerations. – Those are the tell tale signs.

Examine their motivations to fill in the blanks, if you identify inconsistent or questionable elements in their story or lack thereof. Definitely learn to trust your gut, when in doubt it’s better play it safe than sorry. Remember you have to be very perceptive to sense BS when facing a shameless bs’er, but after awhile you can get good at sniffing out the BS and identifying missing links, conflicting motivations, lack of honesty, etc.

Do your homework beforehand, and try to uncover/understand the real motivations of the party you are negotiating with.

Lastly, if you have evidence that your opponent is not being honest, then don’t waste your time at the “negotiation table”. Remember trust is essential to good business, whether you are negotiating with a potential co-founder, an angel, an advisor, or a client. If they are not willing to be 100% honest with you, then don’t waste your time.

There is always an opportunity cost you will pay if you choose to engage with a party that is not playing straight with you.

More info on paltering:

More info on how your sense may not be good enough to detect a lie: – this article is not necessarily about negotiation, but it will tell you how to ask open ended questions and look for missing links to help you spot small pieces of BS that should not be there. 😉

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