How to Spot a Lair in the Workplace


Whilst in conversation with someone at work, have you ever had a feeling that they are not being truthful? For example, you may have been discussing the approach to take with a new project that seems obvious but they may be resisting without being clear on their view point.

Here are four key aspects of body language you can look out for when interacting with a potential liar amongst your work colleagues:


1. Hostility

If someone talks with their fist clenched it is a sign of anger or hostility.

2. Nervousness

If you encounter somebody who taps or drums their fingers on a surface, they are showing feelings of nervousness or anxiety.

3. Disagreement

Arms crossed across the chest is a display of defense and protection from an outside source, or may simply indicate that they disagree with what is being said.

4. Not Interested

Of course body language can also let you know if someone is not interested in what you are saying. A hard look or glare can signal louder than actual words.

Can you detect a liar in the workplace?

Body language can help you detect lies! You don’t need to launch a full scale investigation to determine if somebody is being dishonest with you. All you need is some basic understanding in the art of body language to spot someone who is not being honest with you. The simplest way to detect lies is to simply look for signs of discomfort, anxiety, and nervousness.

The inability to look directly into your eyes, fidgeting fingers, shuffling feet, sudden crossing of the arms or legs, glancing around the room, and forced smiles are the most common
clues that someone is lying to you.

Often the volume of a persons voice will become softer than usual when lying, but during a defensive state of mind, they will usually raise their voice. You may also notice speech errors, such as mispronunciation, stuttering, stammering or that they talk faster than normal.

Now, I don’t want to you get paranoid that everyone is lying to you just because they don’t look at you or because they happen to cross their arms when you are talking to them.

The meanings and interpretations of body language are not always true and definitive. Body language involves many gestures and movements that all have to be considered when you are
attempting to interpret your work peers inner thoughts.


The Problems With Using Profanity In Workplace Communications


There are several problems with using profanity in work communications. Even if the workplace environment is laid-back and lenient, or the office culture is friendly and insulated, there are still some universal ground rules and preexisting perspectives on profanity.

Even without going over the individual problems with using profanity in work communications, the underlying issue simply boils down to this: If you put a workplace communication with profanity next to the identical message without the profanity, the one without profanity will always seem smarter, more appropriate, more mature, more professional, and more positive, unless the message is explicitly (excuse the pun) about specific profanity itself.

With that being said, there are some specific problems with using profanity in work communications.


In every job and field, there are always de facto strictures that determine standards of professionalism. These include appropriate workplace interactions, communication format, dress code, general presentation, event etiquette etc. All of these elements, done the proper way, combine to enhance a reputation and image of professionalism.

Profanity has a very rare place in professionalism. While some less professional fields may let fly with the foul language much more often than others, the reality is that a top executive will not be taken seriously if he or she is casually sprinkling random profanity into his or her work communications. That style of speech is better left for more crude and crass settings, certainly not the workplace.


Utilizing profanity is somewhat of a lazy way to communicate. It creates a cheap, powerful punch in just a single word or two. Often in heated arguments under anger, profanity will unveil itself because the participants are so clouded in their judgment that they cannot, in the heat of the moment, form coherent arguments or cohesive discussion.

Instead of resorting to the tactic of profanity, work communicators should strive to get their point across with other words. Profanity is never necessary to achieve the task of communicating ideas; unless, that is, the idea is to provide crude commentary.

Negative Reflection

With rare (but usually made evident at the time) exceptions, profanity will always serve to detract, rather than enhance, one’s reputation. Using profanity is a tactic usually reserve for immature teens being ignorant, or drunken adults saying regretful things. It is not appropriate for work communications, and will almost always make the person look worse for using it.

Differing Perspectives

But, all things aside, perhaps the biggest problem with using profanity in work communications is that not all people agree on the extent of the unacceptable nature of profanity. Some believe it should not be as taboo, while others may even outright gasp at its use out loud. Just as an effective presentation should take its target audience into account, work communications should keep in mind that the recipient may have a differing, unfavorable view of profanity use.

Overall, even if a worker loves profanity and uses it often in his or her personal life, it is just a common sense conclusion to avoid it in the workplace. Problems with using profanity in work communications can be altogether avoided by just using a little creativity and language skills in its place.

Written by EricBailey

Find More Workplace Communication Skills Articles


Workplace Communication = Money!


Train Your Staff and Survive the Hard Times

Thousands of businesses are failing each year, and millions of people are losing their jobs. Therefore, a serious look at your company and its ability to survive is called for. Every business needs that extra edge to rise head and shoulders above the competition. If your company does not develop that extra edge, there is a very good chance it will fail and you’ll be another casualty of this fragile economy. This is a demanding market and prospective clients require excellent service – and they want it with a smile. They expect courteous treatment and, if they don’t receive it, they will look elsewhere. To avoid this situation, every person in your company should put forth extra effort to make the company look top notch, and worth doing business with.  Your must train each member of the company in effective workplace communication by training them in communication and negotiation skills, corporate communication, and employee communication.

For example, ask yourself these questions: Who answers the phone for your company? Who greets clients when they come into your place of business? If you don’t, do you know who does and how qualified that employee is? How do staff members communicate with each other? Has your company had a continual turnover of employees or a problem with workplace productivity? Does your company promote productive employee communication?  These are extremely important questions to ask and answer. The future of your company could be at stake.

Pretend for a minute that I am a prospective client (a medical doctor) who wants to spend $10,000 on either a product or a service at your company. I call your business to make an appointment and am faced with a surly receptionist, smacking her gum and talking to her co-worker while answering the phone. What are the chances that I will make an appointment? And even if I do, who greets me at the door when I arrive at your place of business? Is it someone with an “attitude”, or someone who is too busy talking to a colleague to bother with me? Or, is it someone who has difficulty with the English language? Or, someone who looks and dresses like a street walker? Now what are the chances your business will get my business? However, let’s say I ignore all this and make arrangements to use email because going into your place of business dismays me. Now, I receive email from one of your employees who failed to use spell-check before sending the email to me, plus the subject line is empty. Also, I am addressed by my first name instead of by my title and last name. Do you honestly believe that I will still want to do business with you?

In view of the above scenario it is apparent that appropriate and effective communication between client and staff is incredibly important, as is effective communication between staff members. Remember, the client in today’s marketplace is looking for prompt and outstanding service. If that client can get a bargain along with the right degree of respect and effective communication from staff members, the chances are you will get a client who will do business.

Cast your mind back, to either going to a business office, or to a local burger joint; were you greeted with a smile? Did the greeting employee even look at you when taking your order? Did you get the feeling that you were important? More than likely not! However, if these employees had been trained in effective communication, your experience would have been quite different. Let your company benefit from a communication coach. It would greatly enhance your employee/ client communication, your interoffice communication which all points to the bottom line; your business’s profit margin. Interactive communication workshops will benefit your staff and give your company a leg-up in the business community. Thus, failing to train staff to be effective communicators and thereby losing a prospective $10,000 client is just bad business.


Peter Lett Communications – Peter Lett is a published author and expert on Communications & Negotiations and specializes in communication workshops, seminars and business coaching …

Peter Lett is a published author and expert on Communications & Negotiations. Mr. Lett specializes in communication workshops, seminars, and business coaching.

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