Tell When A CEO Is Lying

To tweak an old joke, how can you tell when a CEO is lying? A: When their mouth is moving. Or, you can look for certain key phrases, as researchers did in scrutinizing what was said in corporate earnings calls by executives who later had to restate earnings. They found a few patterns:

Lying executives tend to:

* Overuse the word “we” and “team,” they almost never say “I.”
* Use hyped-up, fluffy language. They say “fantastic,” “superb,” “outstanding,” “excellent” as a form of overcompensation.
* Sidestep questions. When one company was asked whether their books could be trusted, the CEO responded by saying they hired the best auditing company in the world.

Another tendency among male liars is they put their hands in their pockets with their index fingers pointed towards their crotch.

How Can You Tell When A CEO Is Lying? [NPR]

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