Saturday, August 29, 2015

How to spot a liar

Did you know that 3.7 Trillion dollars is lost globally through fraud?  Or that 15 billion employees steal from their retail employers every year?  And in the workplace, one out of five people lie or cheat in some way.

Pamela Meyer, author of LieSpotting was sharing these scary statistics with the audience at the recent Incentive Works conference.  Through her presentation she gave us tips on how to detect deception, and it was fascinating.

Using video clips, she illustrated different people, mainly men, who are known now to have been lying.  She started with Bill Clinton, showed Bill Cosby, Rob Ford and then Lance Armstrong.  Powerful evidence of how even on camera an expert can detect the tell-tale signs of lying or stretching the truth.

Why do people lie?  In her research she found that 36 percent are people living beyond their means, 27 percent had financial difficulties, 19 percent were close to the vendors and 14 percent had control issues.

So what do you look out for?  When the person is swaying from the truth, they tend to use more language in their denial – saying did not instead of didn’t, distancing themselves as in Clinton’s case when he talked about “that woman.”

Sometimes, it’s a slip of the tongue that gives them away.  In the case against Susan Smith who had murdered her children, she talked about them in the past tense before it was known that they were dead.   When someone says in all honesty – listen, because likely it’s not.

Other times the person will rabbit on, not answer the question or will minimize the charges.  The example she used here was Rob Ford, but several of us in the audience could also think of another politician who avoids answering questions.

One of the most interesting insights she revealed was when a person is telling the truth, say their travellers cheques have been stolen, they are light on detail and cut to the chase to explain their dilemma, often ending somewhat emotionally. 

Whereas, if the person is lying, they give scripted, detailed step-by-step explanations, and rush at the end.  Very telling.  Her suggestion was that when someone is telling you a story and you are not sure if it is true – map it out – check it against the patterns she described.

Body language is a biggie.  Eighty percent of our communication is non-verbal and often the body language is a real giveaway as to whether the truth is being told.  Examples would include lipsmacking, grooming gestures, hand wringing, excessive sweating, closed eyes and slumped posture or cowered voice.

It’s important she shared that you get a baseline on the person so you are not jumping to conclusions.  Other behaviours to observe would be the blink rate, fidget patterns, postures, hand-leg gestures.   The key is to build a rapport with the person so you can get to know what is normal and what is not. 

Facial expressions are another clue – the look of contempt – one lip curled up (she used Trump as an example here) or nodding your head as you say no.  Oprah’s interview with Lance Armstrong is a classic example of someone dodging the truth.

While her presentation was entertaining, she gave us something to think about and watch for.  So often we take what people tell us at face value.  But maybe we shouldn’t. 

PS.  I use the expression to be honest or in all honesty a lot… so clearly I will need to watch my language, so just know I am telling the truth. Honestly. 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

A cautionary tale

“Flattery will get you everywhere.”  Well that almost worked with me, I humbly confess. It is amazing how your ego can trip you up.

It all started with an email saying I had been selected as a “woman of outstanding leadership.”  I was then invited to take my “place among other remarkable women: you have earned it and you deserve it.”  OK – I’ve worked hard – why not.  So I click on and sign up for their free registration.

But… and here’s the catch, a few weeks later I get THE call. I’d frankly totally forgotten about signing up but the woman on the phone mentioned it, wanted to hear my story…( more stroking of my ego)… offering opportunities to highlight me in their magazine.

Then comes the crunch… $700 plus to join.   I thought it was free? With great persistence the sales gal carried on to say since I was so special (read reluctant to shell out $700+) she’d do me a favour and offer payments by two installments. 

Still I resisted and then the price went down. But like a broken record, she continues to try and close.  What level of membership did I want x or y?  She’d ask over and over again.

I am embarrassed to report I caved in, and signed up.  She was wearing me down and I didn’t know, short of hanging up, how to extricate myself. But just a few seconds later, I totally regretted it and started to question myself … Why did I let myself get suckered into this? I don’t have money to burn. What was I thinking?. I spent quite some time berating myself.

When I looked into their website I could see a group of women who likely had also been coerced into this purchase.    Well not me. Quoting the Ontario law whereby you have ten days to legally cancel contracts, I got out of it.   

Then two days later, I receive the same email that started it all.  It is in my junk mail – where it rightly belongs. I guess I am still considered a woman of outstanding leadership J

So if something like this arrives in your inbox – my advice – delete..  Don’t get caught in a scam that plays to your ego.  Leave your ego at the door and say no.

As for me, I’ve been there, done that and embarrassingly getting rid of the T-shirt.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Standing out from the crowd

I have been watching our gang of cows this year with interest.  They tend to line up like dancers in a chorus line to hang out, eat and whatever.  Except for one.  When they’re in a straight line, this cow chooses to lie down some distance from them.  Or like today, the cows are all facing one way.  Except for our friend.  Clearly an individualist.

And it strikes me that this is what you have to do when you are in business.  Stand out from the crowd.  What do you do to make yourself memorable?  What is your unique value proposition?  Are you clear on what differentiates you from your competitors?

To be honest I used to struggle with that last one myself.  People would ask me what’s different about Company of Women, and I would mumble something about the women we attract and the safe environment we’ve created.

Today it’s way more clear to me.  Our goal is give women the support, skills and self confidence to succeed in their business.  Other groups may offer components of this, but we’re the package deal.

When you think that we offer over 100 live events a year, plus 30 webinars and our all- day annual conference, our focus is clearly on education and giving women the opportunity to learn and grow, both personally and professionally.

So what about you?  What makes you different?  Once you’ve worked this out it is so much easier to market yourself.  You know what you have to offer and hopefully a better understanding of who your target audience is and how to best sell to them.

Like our cow with personality, you stand out and get noticed

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Inspiring women one book at a time

This summer I’ve been writing a couple of books, and as I reflect on what I am learning, I realize there are several common threads. Sitting at my computer, writing and editing,  is definitely one.  

I have also recognized that I just love, love interviewing women, hearing about their lives and helping them craft words to share their stories with others.  I hope I am listening to this joy I am experiencing.  I need to pay attention to it.

Both books are about women – in the one case One Red Lipstick shares the stories of  twenty women who have overcome “stuff” and positively moved on with their lives and in the other,  Enough, many of the women are held back by their feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt.   I almost feel I should introduce the first group to the second so we can learn from each other.

One common thread though in both books is how our childhood can truly influence our adulthood.  In One Red Lipstick, most of the women refer to their parents - sometimes their fathers, sometimes their mothers - as having a profound impact on where they have gone in life.  They were role models, paving the way for their children, with their strong work ethic and values. 

Over half the women in One Red Lipstick are either from immigrant families or are immigrants themselves.  Given they are all business owners, it speaks to how once you’ve already taken the risk of moving to another country, starting a business is just one more risk and you have the tenacity to make it work.

On the other hand, in our Enough book, Amy and I connected with over 350 women, and childhood has certainly impacted their lives, but with varied results.  For some it was a bitter-sweet experience from which they had to recover and move on.  Others are still struggling with the effects of those early relationships, and yet another group of women rose above the turmoil of their childhood, demonstrating a resilience that has to be admired.

Yet the purpose of both books is the same – to encourage and inspire women to live their lives to their potential and on their own terms.  With the stories in One Red Lipstick, the women are to be commended for being real, authentic and vulnerable. 

Their stories will inspire you and hopefully help you realize that you too can do it. We all have challenges to overcome, be it big or small, and it is your attitude that will help you not only overcome them, but soar.

And it is your attitude that we want to change in Enough.  We fervently believe that you can change how you feel about yourself. While the stories in this book may resonate with you and it is good to realize you are not alone, please know that we are in your court. We have your back and the strategies to feeling better about yourself will be found in this book.

As those of you who have authored books will tell you, it is all a process and right now we are getting the bones and the meat of the books down on paper, but it will be a few months before we “give birth” and share our new babies with you.  But I know they will be worth the waitJ