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Never Be Lied to Again: How to Get the Truth Out of Anyone!

Part 3: How to Get the Truth Without Beating it Out of Them

By David J. Lieberman, Ph.D.
Excerpts from "Never Be Lied to Again"

Eleven Silver Bullets: How To Get The Truth Without Beating It Out Of Them

To convey honesty and truthfulness in your message, use the following techniques:

• Look the person directly in the eyes.

• Use hand movements to emphasize your message.

• Use animated gestures that are fluid and consistent with the conversation.

• Stand or sit upright – no slouching.

• Don’t start off with any statements such as “To tell you the truth…” or “To be perfectly honest with you…”

• Face the person straight on. Don’t back away.

Liars need an incentive to confess. The payoff for confessing needs to be immediate, clear, specific, and compelling. You can’t just tell a person what he’ll gain by being truthful or lose by continuing to lie; you must make it real for him – so real, in fact, that he can feel, taste, touch, see, and hear it. Make it his reality. Let him experience fully the pleasure of being honest and the pain of continuing the lie. Involve as many of the senses as you can, particularly visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. Create images for the person to see, sounds for him to hear, and sensations that he can almost feel. You want to make this experience as real as possible. First state the positives, then state the negatives, and then present the choice.

Silver Bullet 1: If You Think That’s Bad, Wait Until You Hear This!

This bullet works well because it forces the liar into thinking emotionally instead of logically. It alleviates his guilt by making him feel that he’s not alone, and it throws him off by creating a little anger and/or curiosity. Plus he thinks that you and he are exchanging information, instead of his giving you something for nothing.
Sample question formation: “The reason I’m asking you these questions is that I’ve done some things that I’m not too proud of, either. I can understand why you might have… In a way I’m almost relieved. Now I don’t feel too bad.” At this point he will ask you to get more specific about your actions. But insist that he tell you first. Hold out and he’ll come clean.

Silver Bullet 2: It Was An Accident. Really!

This is a great strategy because it makes him feel that it would be a good thing to have you know exactly what happened. He did something wrong, true, but that is no longer your concern. You shift the focus of your concern to his intentions, not his actions. This makes it easy for him to confess to his behavior and “make it okay” with the explanation that it was unintentional. He feels that you care about his motivation. In other words, you let him know that the source of your concern is not what he’s done, but why he’s done it.

Sample question formation: “I can understand that maybe you didn’t plan on its happening. Things just got out of control and you acted without thinking. I’m fine with that – an accident, right? But if you did this on purpose, I don’t think that I could ever forgive you. You need to tell me that you didn’t do it intentionally. Please.”

Silver Bullet 3: The Boomerang

This bullet really throws a psychological curveball. With this example you tell him that he did something good, not bad. He’s completely thrown off by this. For example, you want to see if your interviewee has lied on her resume.

Sample question formation: “As we both know, everybody pads his resume just a bit. Personally, I think it shows guts. It tells me that the person isn’t afraid to take on new responsibilities. Which parts were you most creative with on this resume?”

Silver Bullet 4: Truth or Consequences

With this bullet you force your antagonist to work with you or you both end up with nothing. This is the exact opposite of the boomerang. Here the person has nothing unless he cooperates with you. Since you have nothing anyway (the truth), it’s a good tradeoff for you. Let’s say you suspect that your housekeeper has stolen from you.

Sample question formation: “I’d rather hear it from you first. I can live with what you did/what happened, but not with your lying to me about it. If you don’t tell me, then it’s over. If you tell me the truth, things can go back to how they were. But if you don’t, then we have no chance here, and you’ll have nothing.”

Silver Bullet 5: Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace

Human beings place a premium on that which is scarce. Simply put, rare equals good. You can dramatically increase your leverage by conveying that this is the only time that you will discuss this. Let him know that (a) this is his last chance he’ll have for explaining himself, and (b) you can get what you need from someone else. Try increasing the rate of your speech as well. The faster you speak, the less time he has to process the information, and it conveys as stronger sense of urgency. Give a deadline with a penalty for not meeting it. Deadlines force action.
If the guilty party think that he can always come clean, then he will take a wait-and-see approach before tipping his hand. Let the person know that you already know and have proof of his action. And admitting his sins now will give him the opportunity to explain his side.

Sample question formations: “I want to hear it from you now. After tomorrow, anything you say won’t make a difference to me.” –––– “I know what happened/what you did. I was hoping I would hear it from you first. It would mean a lot to me to hear your side of it. I know there are two sides to every story, and before I decide what to do, I want to hear yours.” Hearing this gives him the feeling he still has a chance if he confesses. After all, what really happened can’t be as bad as what you heard. Confessing now is a way of cutting his losses.

Silver Bullet 6: Reverse Course

You convey to him what happened or what he did was a good thing insofar as it allows you and he to establish an even better relationship – personal or professional. You give him an opportunity to explain why he took that choice.
You also blame yourself.

Sample question formation: “I understand why you would have don’t that. Clearly you wouldn’t have unless you had a good reason. You were probably treated unfairly or something was lacking. What can I do to help so that it doesn’t happen again?” Keep interjecting the following phrases: “I take full responsibility for your actions. Let’s work together to see how we can avoid this from happening again. I understand completely. You were right to do what you did.”

Silver Bullet 7: I Hate To Do This, But You Leave Me No Choice

This is the only strategy that involves threat. You let him become aware that there are going to be greater ramifications and repercussions than just lying to you – things that he never thought about. You rely on his imagination to set the terms of the damage that you can inflict. His mind will race through every possible scenario as his own fears turn against him.

• Sample question formation I: “I didn’t want to have to do this, but you leave me no choice.” This will propel him to respond: “Do what?” At this point he’s waiting to see what the tradeoff will be. But do not commit yourself to an action. Let him create in his own mind scenarios of what you will do unless he confesses.

• Sample question formation II: “You know what I can do, and I’ll do it. If you don’t want to tell me now, don’t. I’ll just do what I have to do.” After this statement, pay close attention to his response. If he focuses on what you will do to him, the odds lean more toward guilty. However, if he reasserts that he’s done nothing, he may in fact be innocent of your accusation. The guilty person needs to know the penalty to determine if it makes sense for him to stick to his story.

Silver Bullet 8: I Guess You’re Not Allowed

Never underestimate the power of appealing to a person’s ego. Sometimes you want to inflate it, and others times you want to attack it. This bullet is for attacking. It’s truly saddening how fragile some people’s egos are. Sample question formations: “I think I know what it is – you’re not allowed to tell me. Somebody else is pulling the strings and you’ll get in trouble. You’d tell me the truth if you could, but you don’t have the power to do so.”

Silver Bullet 9: Higher Authority

As long as the person believes that you are on his side, he’ll take the bait. All you have to do is let him know that anything he’s lied about can now be cleared up in seconds. However, if anyone else finds out about it later, it’s too late. Let’s say that you want to know if your secretary leaves early when you’re out of the office.

Sample question formation: “The vice president from corporate is coming in today. He’s asked about your hours, so I’m going to tell him that you come in early on the days that you leave early. Do you remember what days last month you finished up early and took off?” This is disarming, and you’re not yelling at her or demanding answers. You’re on her side, and you’re going to work together to smooth things over.

Silver Bullet 10: The Great Unknown

You can obtain maximum leverage by explaining how the ramifications of his deceit will be something that the suspect has never known before. Even if he believes that you are limited in what you can do to him and in what the penalty will be, the severity of the penalty can be manipulated in two major ways to make it appear much more severe: time and impact.

• Time: Give no indication of when the penalty will occur. When things happen unexpectedly, the degree of anguish is more potent.

• Impact: Convey that his entire life will be disrupted and drastically altered for the worse. He needs to see that this event is not isolated and will instead have a ripple effect. When bad things happen we are often comforted in knowing that it will soon be over and the rest of our life will remain intact and unaffected. But if these things are not assured, we become increasingly fearful and concerned.

Silver Bullet 11: I Couldn’t Care Less

A primary law governing human nature is that we all have a need to feel significant. Nobody wants to be thought of as unimportant, or feel that his ideas and thinking is irrelevant. Take away a person’s belief that he has value and he’ll do just about anything to reassert his sense of importance. Your apathy toward the situation will unnerve him immensely. He will begin to crave recognition and acceptance, in any form. He needs to know you care what happens, and if talking about his misdeeds is the only way he can find out, he will.

Sample question formations: “I know and I just don’t care. This is not for me.” ––– “I’ve got other things to think about. Maybe we’ll talk some other time.” ––– “You do what you have to do, that’s fine with me.” To be more powerful, stare at him. When you stare at someone he often feels less significant and will seek to reassert his value.

III. Tactics For Detecting Deceit and Gathering Information In Casual Conversations

General Conversations

1. Ask-a-Fact
• During the conversation simply ask general, clear questions pertaining to your suspicion. This causes the person you are questioning to recall information. If he’s lying, he’ll take a while to answer because he first has to check his response mentally to be sure it makes sense. Made-up stories do not have details because they never happened!

• Ask questions that will give you an objective, not a subjective response. For instance, if you think an employee was home when he said he would be away on vacation, don’t ask him how he enjoyed the weather in Florida, but rather ask “Did you rent a car?” Once he answers yes to any question, ask for more detail. If he’s lying, he’ll try to keep the facts straight and will take his time answering further questions.

2. Add-a-False Fact
• Add a fact and ask the person to comment on it. This fact is one that you’ve made up, but one that sounds perfectly reasonable. For example, if you wanted to know if someone really indeed went on a safari to Africa, you mention that your uncle who works as a customs officer at the Nairobi airport told you that everyone going to Africa was given special instructions on how to avoid malaria. As soon as he validates your claim in an attempt to back up his assertion that he has gone to Africa, you know that his story is untrue. Otherwise he would simply say that he doesn’t know what your uncle is talking about.

Here are the criteria:
• Your statement has to be untrue
• It has to sound reasonable
• Your assertion has to be something that would directly affect the person, so he would have firsthand knowledge of this “fact.”

3. Support-a-Fact
• In this sequence you take what the person says and request proof, but in a very non-threatening manner.
For example, in the case of the person who claimed he had gone on safari, you might let him know that you would love to see pictures of the trip. If he offers up a reason why you can’t see the pictures, then this should arouse some suspicion.

4. Expand-a-Fact
• Use this clue to determine how far someone is willing to go to get what she wants. All you do is expand on a fact that she has already offered. If she just goes on without correcting you, then you know that she may be lying about what she’s said so far and/or is willing to lie to get you to see her point. For example, your secretary asks you for the rest of the day off because she’s not feeling well. You might say, “oh, of course, if you’ve got a fever and a bad headache, by all means take off.” She never claimed to have these symptoms. You merely expanded on her statement.

Special Occasions

1. Third-Party Protection
• This tactic is used if someone is reluctant to tell you something that involves another person. You have to appeal to his ego and let him forget that he’s telling tales out of school. The conversation needs to be positive. The other person must feel as if he’s doing a good thing by answering your question.

• Scenario A: Your attorney is telling you about a case that a fellow attorney screwed up on. Simply asking, “What did he do wrong?” would probably get you nowhere. However, by turning it around you create an incentive for him to tell you. Ask, “Had you handled the case, what would you have done differently?”

• Scenario B: While chatting with Brad, one of your sales people, you would like to find out why Susan’s sales figures are low. But simply asking him why she’s not doing well might prove fruitless. Ask, “What areas do you think Susan can improve in?”

2. The Power Play
• Sometimes the person reluctant to tell the truth is in a position of power. In these situations it’s usually inappropriate and futile to become argumentative. In these instances you want to bring the conversation to a personal level.

• Scenario: You’re trying to sell to a buyer who doesn’t want to buy and is not giving you a reason that you truly believe. Your objective will be to get to the real objection. “I do this for a living. My family relies on me to support them. Clearly we have a fine product and you’re a reasonable man. Would you mind telling me what I did to offend you?” Now your buyer is caught off guard and will undoubtedly follow with “Oh, you didn’t offend me. It’s just that…”

3. Hurt Feelings
• Someone is lying to you to protect your feeling – perhaps one of those little white lies. A touch of guilt makes the other person reevaluate his approach.

• Scenario: You feel that the truth is being withheld from you for your own benefit. “I know you don’t want to offend me, but you’re hurting me more by not being perfectly honest.” “If you don’t tell me, no one else will. If I can’t count on you for this, I don’t know what I would do.”

4. It’s A Matter of Opinion
The following is an excellent method for detecting deceit in a person’s opinion.

• Scenario: You’re not sure if your boss really likes your idea for a new advertising campaign, even though she says she does. “Do you like the concept for my new idea?” “Sure. It’s very original.” “Well, what would it take for you to love the idea?”

5. I Don’t Know
• This response can stall a conversation and leave you searching for answers. Sometimes it’s just easier to say, “I don’t know,” which is often why we say it in the first place. Either way, when you hear “I don’t know,” try some of the following responses:

1. “Okay, then why don’t you tell me how you’ve come to think the way you do?”
2. “I know you don’t know, but if you were to guess, what do you think it might be?”
3. “What emotion best describes what you’re thinking right now?
4. “What one word comes closest to describing what you’re thinking?”

• In all these responses, you’re taking the pressure off. You acknowledge the person’s difficulty in answering. You then seem to be asking her to provide something else, when in reality your new question is aimed at getting your initial question answered.

6. I’m Simply Embarrassed
• The person may lie to you out of embarrassment. The usual tactics don’t work here because the person probably isn’t obligated to tell you and more than likely will have nothing to gain by doing so. Therefore you need to create an incentive for telling the truth in an environment that makes him feel comfortable.

• Scenario: You think the new intern mixed up two piles of papers and shredded the documents that were supposed to be copied. “Nelson, if you’re the one who did this, it’s all right. I remember when I first started here. What I’m going to tell you is between you and me, okay? Good. I once made copies of a confidential memo instead of the lunch menu and placed a copy in each person’s mailbox.”
This instantly puts the other person at ease. It shows that you trust him, and he also feels obligated to share with you something he’s done that he feels uncomfortable with.

7. Divide and Conquer
• This is situation where there are two or more people from whom you can get the truth.

• Scenario: Several of your sorority sisters pulled a practical joke and you want to find out who is responsible. “Jennifer, who did this is not important. I don’t even care. What is important is our friendship. I want to know that I can trust you. I think I can, but I need for you to speak honestly with me. It’s not that I’m so concerned with who did it – only that you are truthful with me about it.” If you don’t get anywhere with her, go to someone else with the same speech.

8. Professional Reliance
• When dealing with professionals:
1. Always, if possible, get a second opinion. It’s easy to do and can save you a lot of heartache.
2. Make sure the person is licensed, insured, and registered to do the actual work.
3. Have your agreement drawn up in writing. Oral contracts aren’t worth it.
4. Ask for referrals or testimonials.

• If he balks at any one of these points, you might want to take your business elsewhere. Finally, the following strategy should give you an accurate insight into the person’s intentions. They key is to ask for the opposite of what you really want.

• Scenario: Let’s say that your travel agent suggests the Five-Day Cruise Getaway vacation package for you. You’re looking to really let loose; you want a trip that will be nonstop fun, but you’re not sure if she’s pushing this package for the commission or if she really believes that it’s a great deal. “The brochure looks great, Sandy. I just want to make sure that this is not one of those party boats. I’m looking for some rest and relaxation. Is this that kind of trip?” By asking your question this way, you will know the intentions of your travel agent and the answer to your question. If she answers yes, then you know that the cruise is not for you or she is lying to get your business.

9. I Don’t Know and I Don’t Care
• Few things are more frustrating than dealing with someone who just doesn’t give a damn. Why? Because you don’t have a whole lot to work with. You’ve got zero leverage. He’s got nothing at risk, so you’ve got little bargaining power. You simply have to change the equation so he’s got something at stake.

• Scenario: You take your car to the mechanic and he tells you it will be fixed by Friday. But you just know that something’s going to come up and it will be sitting in his garage all weekend. “Okay, Joe. Tomorrow’s fine. Just so you know, my wife is pregnant and she’s due any day. That’s our only car, so if you can think of any reason why it may not be ready by Friday, you’ve got to let me know now.”

10. I Just Heard
• Most people who lie usually confide in at least one other person. It’s important to let this person believe that you already know the truth and then add your emotional reaction to it. For example, some general statements that would be said to the person whom you believe knows the truth:

1. Sympathy: “I can’t believe what Sam did. I am truly very sorry. If there’s anything I can do for you or whatever, please just let me know, okay?

2. Humor: “Mary, is Joe a magnet for odd things or what? He just told me and I still can’t believe it.”

Directing The Conversation
You can steer a conversation in any direction that you choose. You can do this very efficiently with just a few wellchosen words. After he makes a statement, you can use the following key words to direct the flow of information in any way that you choose. They can be used to extract information from any conversation.

1. Meaning … Saying this word after he speaks directs his thinking and the conversation toward the larger picture, giving you a better look at his overall position. He will offer the reason for the position.

2. And … This response gives you more lateral information. You’ll be able to gather additional facts.

3. So … This response makes him get more specific, giving you the details of his position.

4. Now … This response makes him translate his position into a specific action. He will proceed to tell you exactly what he means and how it applies to you.

Getting Specific
Sometimes you’ll get an answer, but it doesn’t do you much good. Here are a couple ways of narrowing it down.

1. In Response to an Opinion or Belief
• “I don’t think the meeting went very well.” – “Compared with what?” or “How poorly did it go?”

2. In Response to a Reluctance to Commit
• “I don’t know if I could.” – “What, specifically, prevents you?” or “What would have to happen for you to be able to?” or “What would change if you did?”

Let The Truth Be Told
These simple words work better than any others do:

1. Because: We’re programmed to accept an explanation as valid if it follows this word.

2. Let’s: This word generates group atmosphere and initiates a bandwagon effect; it’s positive and creates action.

3. Try: This little word is a powerful motivator because it has a “what’s the harm” mentality. For example, “Let’s give it a try because if it doesn’t work we can always go back to the way it was.” Clearly you haven’t introduced any reason for the person to take action, yet it seems to make sense just the same.

Don’t accuse someone as by saying, “Why did you take five dollars from petty cash?” If you want to know if he took the money, simply say, “The money that we take from petty cash? Let’s try to keep it fewer than ten dollars at a time, because it works out better that way.”

Taking Control
If in a situation where you are unable to speak because the person keeps talking or interrupting, use some zingers like these. They play on two susceptible angles of human nature – ego and curiosity.

1. “You’re a smart person; let me ask you a question.”
2. “I know that you would want me to ask you this.”
3. “You’re the only person who would know the answer to this.”
4. “I hope this news doesn’t upset you.”
5. “Along those lines…” It’s easy to change conversation when you begin with the other’s last thoughts.

This article is an excerpt from "Never Be Lied to Again," available in the Underground Hypnosis package available at here: "Learn the Underground Hypnosis Secrets of the World's Most Dangerous Hypnosists"

Click here for Part 4: Advanced Techniques for Getting the Truth